A former MTA superintendent claims the subways are unsafe and emergency evacuations are potentially dangerous because station gates can be compromised.
Peter T. Nichik, who had worked in the Division of Station Operations and is a 25-year MTA veteran, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Brooklyn saying that the agency didn’t give him enough chains and padlocks for gates and that safety conditions in the field were being “underreported.”
Nichik said he complained in 2007 to his bosses that certain station gates were simply left open instead of being padlocked in the open position. That gives the opportunity for anyone to lock the gates themselves creating a “very dangerous and potentially lethal event in an emergency situation,” such as a terrorist attack or explosion, the suit says, according to the New York Post.
Nichik’s attorney said her client wants a federal judge to order the MTA to improve security. He also is seeking back wages and pension benefits as a result of his subsequent suspension and demotion for his whistle-blowing efforts.
“He certainly lost pay and he’s looking to be made whole,” said Clare Norins, of Beldock, Levine and Hoffman.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency has had a procedure in place since 2008 to survey station entrances to ensure 24-hour security gates are padlocked open.
“The MTA Inspector General has performed inspections on multiple occasions and found the system in substantial compliance,” he said, adding that the lawsuit has “no merit.”