1. Home
  2. Safety and security

Subway Safety

Updated Mar 9, 2020

Most subway accidents result from slips, trips, and falls on stairways when someone is in a rush. The best safety advice we can give you is: slow down when you are on the stairs, and hold the handrail.

On Platforms

Some trains are shorter (have fewer cars) when it's not rush hour because there are fewer passengers using the subway. Some short trains operate without a conductor. On those trains, the train operator opens and closes the doors, makes station announcements, and assists customers, if needed. Consider waiting at the center of the platform at these times. At most stations, there are signs that read: During Off-Hours, Trains Stop Here. If you stand near the center of the platform near the sign, you won't have to rush when the train arrives.

Platform Edge Safety

  • We care about your safety – don’t become a statistic! Stand back from the platform edge.
  • In 2017, there were 181 incidents involving customers who came in contact with trains; 44 people died.
  • Standing on or at the yellow platform edge strip is dangerous.
  • Learn more about platform edge safety. (Requires QuickTime Plug-in to view)

Stuff happens. If you drop something, leave it!

  • NEVER go down onto the tracks, for any reason. Your safety is more important.
  • Tell a police officer, or train or station personnel.
  • If available, use a Customer Assistance or Help Point intercom.

Be aware of your surroundings. See someone at risk? Get help.

  • Alert a police officer, or train or station personnel
  • If available, use a Customer Assistance or Help Point intercom.
  • Be Safe. Be Smart. Stand Back.

In Subway Cars

You risk serious injury if you ride on top of the train (surfing) or ride holding onto outside doors (skylarking). It's also against the law. Boarding between subway cars may seem like a time-saver, but it is highly dangerous. It's also dangerous to try to keep subway doors from closing when you are entering or exiting the train. They are not like elevator doors and will not reopen automatically. In addition, make sure that pocketbooks, knapsacks, clothing, packages, umbrellas, and other personal items are clear of the closing doors. When you're inside a moving train, never ride between cars or lean against doors. When you are standing, always hold on.

Using the Emergency Cord

Use the emergency cord only to prevent an accident or injury. For example, if someone gets caught between closing subway car doors and is being dragged, pull the cord. But if your train is between stations and someone aboard becomes ill, do not pull the emergency cord. The train will stop, preventing medical professionals from reaching the sick passenger. A sick person is better off if the train goes to the nearest station where police and medical services will be waiting or can be quickly summoned, without interruption.

On Escalators

Never run or walk on escalators; always hold the handrail and face forward. If you're with a child, hold hands. (It's not a good idea for small children to hold escalator handrails.)

Escalator steps are always moving and have spaces that can grab. This means you should avoid resting packages (or yourself) on the stairs. You'll also want to keep clothing and shoes away from the sides. In addition, make sure that laces on footwear are tied. When you leave an escalator, step off, rather than ride off.

Read more about how to ride safely on escalators

On Elevators

Children don't know that they can get hurt by elevator doors. You need to keep youngsters away from them. So, either hold children's hands or, if you're using a stroller, keep children's hands inside and never use a stroller to block closing doors. Watch clothing, bags, and other personal items — they can get caught in closing doors too.

Read more about how to ride safely on elevators

With Baby Strollers

Fold strollers so that you can carry infants on stairs or escalators. Strap your child in snugly at all other times.

When you're on the platform, keep the stroller away from the edge and apply the stroller brake. That's because platforms tilt toward the tracks to allow for drainage, and the stroller could roll onto the tracks.

Never place a stroller between closing subway car doors. Watch out for the gap between the platforms edge and train when you board. (That's always a good idea, even when you're traveling alone.) And it's better if you board in the center of the train. The conductor is usually there, making it easier to get attention in case of problem.