Suspensions, dismissals of MTA operators and conductors are rising

They’ve gone off the rails.

The MTA slapped 1,955 suspensions and dismissals on its subway operators and conductors for wrongdoing — including boozing it up, running red signals and sleeping on duty — in the last three years, a 45 percent surge in punishments.

Only 48 of those transit workers were ever fired. The rest were suspended for as little as one day, or as many as 60 days in the case of a conductor who dragged a passenger caught in a closed door, according to the latest data available, obtained by The Post under a Freedom of Information Law request.

“Looking at these statistics strikes fear in the heart of anyone . . . who relies upon the subway system,” said Scott Seskin, a lawyer who represents injured straphangers.

The MTA refused to provide names of those disciplined.

There were nearly 92 suspensions and two dismissals for workers who were absent without official leave; nine suspensions for alcohol use; and four people fired for drug use. One train operator was canned last year for refusing a drug test.

Rude or inappropriate behavior led to 10 suspensions and “reckless/unsafe operation” caused 39 suspensions and two dismissals. And one conductor was suspended for 15 days for “lounging.”

Of those fired, the most prevalent reason was for “conduct unbecoming an employee” which led to 9 workers getting canned.

The punishments were meted out between 2014 and 2016, and do not include actions taken after such recent subway snafus as June’s A train derailment in Harlem that hurt dozens.

The MTA suspended two supervisors in that accident, which was blamed on an unsecured piece of spare rail improperly stored in the track bed.

While recent service meltdowns have left riders stranded or chronically late, only three suspensions were handed out for a delay or disruption in service in 2014-2016.

There were four for collisions.

But the statistics provide clues to the transit system’s dysfunction.

The greatest number of suspensions — 443 — were for train operators blowing through signals. The so-called signal overruns increased 56 percent from 106 in 2014 to 165 in 2016. The suspensions ranged from 30 days to a day. Only one motorman menace was fired.

The MTA said when drivers overrun signals the train is automatically stopped, leading to significant delays. The agency contended that the number of overruns was a small percentage of the signals cleared every year.

Another cause of delays is operators who hit an incorrect button, taking their trains on the wrong route. The number of suspensions for “wrong routes” increased by 60 percent to 43 in 2016, up from 27 in 2014.

The MTA suspended a conductor and operator after an August 2014 wrong-way driving incident on an A train. The train operator was supposed to turn her train around because of signal problems, but instead went north from Canal Street on the downtown tracks and passed one station before seeing the headlights of a stopped train in front of her, the MTA said at the time.

The transit agency called it a “very serious incident.”

“Providing safe and reliable service is our number one priority. That is why we take these infractions seriously and take appropriate disciplinary action based on the type of infraction,” and MTA spokesman said.


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