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MTA Commends L Train Crew Who Lifted Riders’ Spirits During Service Disruption

New York City Transit
Updated November 30, 2021 7:15 p.m.
MTA Commends L Train Crew Who Lifted Riders’ Spirits During Service Disruption

View Video of Subway Conductor Mandy Harford Talking to Customers Onboard Train 

View Photos from Today’s News Conference 

View Video from Today’s News Conference 

 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials today honored NYC Transit subway conductor Mandy Harford and train operator Tamika Waller, whose actions during a service disruption on the  line were exemplary. Waller first spotted an unauthorized person on the tracks, likely saving the person’s life. The incident delayed Harford’s train for an hour.

Video of the incident taken onboard the train on Nov. 23 was posted online and captured Harford’s exceptional communication with customers. Throughout the entire incident, Harford walked through train cars assuring customers police had been notified, and they would be on the move as soon as possible.

NYC Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano and MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer joined Harford and Waller at the 1 Av  station in Manhattan to present them with a commendation for their exceptional communication skills during the disruption.

“Transit workers step up to the plate every day with actions like this that sometimes go unnoticed, and at times, even taken for granted,” said Interim President Cipriano. “Both Mandy and Tamika followed their training while also going above and beyond to make sure the customers onboard were informed. Their actions are emblematic of the NYC Transit workforce, who are always ready for any situation thrown their way.” 

“Strong communication is an important factor in making people feel safe,” said Chief Customer Officer Meyer. “Service disruptions can be a stressful experience, but Mandy reduced any worry by walking through the train, explaining what was going on and letting them know that they were in this together. This is a shining example of the New York spirit, and the way MTA employees are ready for anything at a moment’s notice.” 

“I wanted to make my presence feel more personal than professional. I wanted the passengers to know they were not alone,” Harford said. “People can get anxious when their train is stopped, and I thought, if my loved ones were on this train, they would want the person-to-person communication to make them feel safe. The passengers not only remained calm but helped keep an eye on the person on the tracks. We were all in it together, and together we got through this.” 

“I just did my job. I saw the passenger on the catwalk, and I immediately stopped, but he kept walking. I called it in like I was supposed to. And I really think Mandy did the most,” Waller said. “I kept an eye on him, he somehow got out of our sight, winded up onto the next track, which was Mandy's train. I was able to tell the cops where he was, what he looked like. So, I just thank you for the recognition, and I just continue to keep doing my work to the best of my ability.” 

The disruption began at 8:38 p.m. when Waller reported a person on the tracks near the 1 Av station in Manhattan to the Rail Control Center (RCC). Waller provided the description of the person to the RCC which then requested Manhattan  trains hold where they were. Shortly thereafter, the train operator of Harford’s train spotted the person on her side of the tracks. 

Power was then removed between 8 Av and 1 Av so that police could respond to the incident. Simultaneously, the RCC instructed the train crew to try and get the person to board the train. Harford and the train operator made attempts in vain. The person began to move towards the back of the train, where Harford and the operator lost sight of the person. But the passengers in the last train car saw the person run towards the 1 Av platform and out of the station. 

Service resumed at 9:43 p.m., with Harford’s train continuing towards the 8 Av terminal. 

“What was really surprising is how everybody was calm,” said Sean Yox, the customer onboard the train who shot the video. “Everyone was really calm, and people started chatting, being friendly, just showing that New York has this great spirit, where people in times of struggle can show how they can be friendly and communicative and helping each other. And we really wanted to help Mandy because she really helped us be calm and had us going back home safely at the end of the day.”