A pair of transit workers evacuated riders fleeing the subway attack in Brooklyn via another train Tuesday morning, possibly saving the straphangers from their attacker, according to MTA officials.
When a man detonated a smoke device and opened fire at passengers on an N train entering 36th Street Station in Sunset Park just before 8:30 a.m., a quick-thinking motorman and conductor of an R train on the local track on the opposite side of the platform got the commuters to safety, said MTA chairperson and CEO Janno Lieber in media interviews.
“MTA workers showed up right through the dark days of COVID and they showed up again today, when they made the fast move to move that R train out of the station when they saw that there was something bad going on and they got a lot of people out of harm’s way very quickly,” Lieber told 1010 WINS.
“Kudos to them. I’ve spoken to both the conductor and the motorman who are on that train to give them a big thank you for all New Yorkers,” the transit chief added.
The horrifying attack that injured nearly two-dozen riders on their morning commute on April 12 caused service to be suspended on the D, N, and R trains in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan for the day.
By late Tuesday afternoon, subway service was running on nearly all of the system, albeit with some “little gaps,” Lieber told the radio station.
“We got little gaps,” he said. “But we are running very robust service on almost every every part of the system.”
Meanwhile, the mass transit agency issued a memo to subway crews telling them to be vigilant amid heightened security in the system.
“All Service Delivery employees are reminded that they must continue to be vigilant to maintain a state of heightened security within the subway system,” read the message signed by chief officer for field operations Paul McPhee.
“This incident is a reminder that all Service Delivery employees must remain vigilant and immediately report anything unusual to the Rail Control Center.”
MTA’s in-house rider advocates lauded the transit workers and riders who helped each other out during the morning crisis, while hoping the incident wouldn’t set back the slowly-recovering recent ridership figures, which have remained above 3 million trips every weekday last week.
“We thank the good Samaritans, transit workers, and first responders who came to the aid of victims during today’s events,” read the joint statement by Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee and Andrew Albert, chairperson of the New York City Transit Riders Council and MTA board member.
“We hope that this is a one-off incident and does not deter riders from returning to transit as a concerted effort continues to improve safety underground.”