MTA Pulls Nearly 300 Brand New Subway Cars Over Door Problems on Moving Trains

There were two recent incidents that prompted concerns about passenger safety, but no injuries were reported

The MTA said Wednesday it has pulled nearly 300 newly delivered subway cars for safety reasons effective immediately, citing an analysis of "two recent incidents" involving doors. No passengers were injured in either case.

A source familiar with the investigation confirmed to NBC New York that at least one of the incidents involved the doors opening while the train was moving, putting passengers at risk.

The problems with the Bombardier trains happened "over the holidays," possibly in late December and early January, one source familiar with the incidents tells News 4. Further details on exactly what transpired weren't immediately clear. In total, 298 cars were pulled from service overnight; the affected cars were on the A, C, J and Z lines.

The MTA said all lines were operating at normal service levels Wednesday morning with the exception of the J and Z lines, where "headways have been increased by two minutes in between trains for the AM peak period, and skip-stop service suspended."

In a statement, NYCT President Andy Byford said two recent incidents with the Bombardier R179 subway cars raised questions about "the reliable operation of a door mechanism" on the newly delivered cars.

"Out of an abundance of caution, NYCT removed all R179 train cars from service overnight for thorough inspection and re-deployed other spare cars to continue service for this morning’s rush and ensure minimal impacts to customers," Byford said Wednesday.

He added that "the MTA has identified repeated issues with Bombardier’s performance and finds this latest development unacceptable. We intend to hold the company fully accountable.”

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer blasted the MTA in a statement shortly after the news, saying his office released an audit last month that showed how its contract with Bombardier was late -- three years behind schedule -- and cost taxpayers "millions" of additional dollars.

Stringer said that audit showed layers of mismanagement in the MTA's oversight of the contract, repeat failures to meet contact deadlines, poor project management, technical breakdowns and structural defects that delayed cars being put into service. Other defects had cars yanked.

"The New York City subway riders who foot the bill for the MTA’s $600 million contract with Bombardier were promised new, state-of-the-art train cars to help modernize our ailing transit system," Stringer said Wednesday. "Now, all the cars that were delivered so far have been pulled from service due to critical defects. It is completely unacceptable."

Bombardier sold us lemons. Straphangers need the MTA to manage these contracts from the beginning -- before the trains go off the rails.


When reached for comment, Bombardier pointed fingers at its subcontractor who manufactures the doors.

“Our investigation shows that the doors were not properly calibrated by Kangni, the door operator supplier," state statement from Bombardier read.

To make that clear, the chain of blame in the incident went: Stringer blamed the MTA for failing to purchase quality products; the MTA blamed Bombardier for faulty equipment; and Bombardier blamed their subcontractor Kangni for the door malfunctions.

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