Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Staten Island Railway


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Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Staten Island Railway
Operational Training and Medical Assessments of Train Crews

Issued: March 1, 2018
Link to full audit report 2017-S-71
Link to 90-day response

To determine whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) – Staten Island Railway (SIR) established and implemented training and retraining programs for train crews to ensure safe train operations; and whether SIR ensured that train crews are medically fit and periodically monitored for continued medical fitness. The audit covered from January 1, 2013 to September 20, 2016.

The MTA is a public benefit corporation that operates North America’s largest transportation network. New York City Transit (Transit), one of the MTA’s constituent agencies, operates bus and subway service within the City of New York. SIR is a subsidiary agency that operates a single rapid transit line on Staten Island, which runs from the St. George Ferry Terminal to the southern terminus at the Tottenville Terminal. Administratively, SIR is a separate operating unit, reporting to Transit’s Department of Subways.

Train crews consist of two members: a Locomotive Engineer (Engineer) and a Conductor. At SIR, the train crew reports to a Train Dispatcher. Induction Training is required for all employees new to their positions and is conducted both in the classroom and in various train yards. Training for Conductors and Engineers also includes “posting,” where the inductee works alongside a permanent employee to use the skills taught in class. Induction Training also includes quizzes, tests, final exams, and practical tests. Additionally, train crews are required to take Refresher Training courses (Book of Rules [BOR] biennially and Roadway Worker Protection [RWP] and Signals annually), intended to update the employees on current operating, communications, fire, and evacuation procedures.

Employees new to these positions are also required to pass a medical assessment at a Transit Medical Assessment Center. Medical assessments are required every two years for Engineers and every five years for Conductors. Revisits may be required as determined by medical personnel.

From January 1, 2013 through May 9, 2016, there were 56 Conductors and 37 Engineers who served in these titles.

Key Findings

  • SIR employee training files should evidence satisfactory completion of each test and the Induction Training course overall. This is necessary to support that the employee was properly trained. However, we found that SIR’s records were insufficient to document that training was satisfactorily completed. For example, our testing found that, for our randomly selected sample of Conductors who underwent Induction Training during our audit period, 61 percent (55 of 90) of test papers were either not graded or missing. In addition, for our randomly selected sample of Engineers, 81.7 percent (49 of 60) of test papers for those newly hired and 41.7 percent (30 of 72) of test papers for those promoted were either not graded or missing.
  • SIR's Conductors and Engineers are required to take Refresher Training courses on BOR biennially and RWP and Signals annually. The BOR specifies conduct that SIR deems important to safety, and is intended to protect against negligence, damage, injury, and death in the performance of work. Five of the ten Conductors randomly sampled were required to take BOR Refresher Training during our scope period. However, only two of the five had training records that supported satisfactory completion of all exams. We found similar results for the Signals Refresher Training, with only two of eight Conductors having records to support satisfactory completion. The Signals tests are critical because they test the student’s knowledge of the safe routing of trains.
  • Train crews were also not in compliance with medical assessment requirements. For example, for two of the ten Conductors sampled, their periodic examinations were late: one by 209 days and the other by 79 days.

Key Recommendations

  • Require all instructors to review the class files periodically during and at the end of training to ensure that all quizzes, tests, and final examinations are documented and graded, and are retained in the training files.
  • Emphasize the importance of Refresher Training to ensure compliance by instructors and train crews, evidenced by complete records, including documents showing the employee attained passing grades.
  • Develop a system that properly tracks and monitors employee medical examinations against the scheduled time intervals.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236