Auto pilot on the L line causing sudden jerks
Straphangers are having a wobbly ride late at night on the L train and not because of stiff drinks before the ride home.
The shift to auto pilot on evening L trains has come with an uncomfortable jerk at station stops, according to an engineer's report.
I'm telling straphangers to hold on tightly to the bars, said Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign.
In February, NYC Transit started running some overnight L trains on automatic train operation, where a driver simply taps a button as a computer handles most of the driving.
So far, the software may need tweaking to stop the jerking motion, along with braking errors at fast speeds, according to a report prepared by McKissack + Delcan, engineers hired to oversee the MTA's major projects.The snafu has not endangered passengers, NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges said. Siemens Transportation Systems, the contractor, will be held responsible in refining the software, he said.
Last year, Siemens received a $28 million contract to equip 64 subway cars on the L line with the computer equipment, which is currently from about 2 to 5 a.m.
Later this year it could be used on some cars on the No. 7 line.
Union officials view the shift to automatic train control as risky.
"We continue to have serious safety concerns, said Curtis Tate, acting president of TWU Local 100, who called for a full report on the L train incidents.
Transit advocates have frequently slammed Siemens for dropping the ball on other city projects, including digital bus locator maps and the subway's public address system.
This has been an ongoing saga, said Karyl Cafiero, a researcher at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. Is this fine tuning going to take a month or six months?
Siemens did not respond to a request for comment. The engineer's report will be discussed during MTA's board meeting tomorrow.