Seven rail track inspectors in New York City have been suspended after an 11-month investigation found they had skipped inspections and falsified reports.
Six of them received a final warning and were banned from performing track inspections for five years, following arbitration.
The Office of the MTA Inspector General (OIG) launched the inquiry in January 2020 amid news coverage of track debris raining down on cars from elevated tracks, leading NYC Transit to spend $15.9m installing nets.
That led the OIG to suspect that inspectors were not walking their assigned sections because they could have discovered the loose debris if they had.
The OIG also performed an audit to determine how such widespread deception could occur without management’s knowledge. It revealed "significant, systemic issues with how supervisors and managers at NYC Transit oversee the work of track inspectors", the OIG said in a press release.
"It is appalling that so many track inspectors, on so many occasions, skipped safety inspections, filed false reports to cover their tracks, and then lied to OIG investigators about it," said MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny. "Management needs to utilise a technology that will ensure supervisors can verify when inspectors do their job – and when they do not." Â
Image: Crews repairing elevated track at 132nd St. and Broadway in 2014 (MTA New York City Transit/Marc A. Hermann/CC BY 2.0)