A single Tweet in a sea of millions led us to this Reddit gem, where an MTA subway train conductor answers questions about his job. There's real talk about the The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (original and remake), how you can apply to be a train conductor, and his favorite line to drive (it's the 4, for the record). The whole thing is pretty damn skippy, but we've parsed a few key points to keep in mind the next time you step on a subway platform.
How often do people commit suicide by jumping on the tracks?
It happened 136 times in 2010 (statistic includes accidental deaths). So about twice a week. Is that (sometimes) what "sick passenger" means?
Sick passenger is code for "dead customer ON the train". Often times it actually IS a sick passenger though-sick usually refers to some kind of bodily injury, rather than someone puking or passing out, and the delays are mainly from the MTA doing an investigation to cover their asses when that customer eventually files a lawsuit.
How long does it take to resume normal service afterwards?
"Police investigation" is the code for a suicide by train. Service will be disrupted for about a half hour, usually. I've seen it mess up things for as long as 3 hours though.
Do you stay on the same line or different ones?
I work in the IRT, which is the numbered lines (1,2,3,4,5,6,7). I've worked each of these lines multiple times. The BMT/IND (lettered lines) has a completely separate crewbase, since they use different equipment, so I never touch any of those lines.
Are passengers allowed to ride the 6 past the last stop to see the City Hall ghost station or only if they pretend to be asleep and don't get caught?
Yes, you are. In fact there is a bulletin specifically telling us to NOT kick anyone off at Brooklyn Bridge. There is a legitimate reason for this. Bleecker St still doesn't have an underpass for the uptown platform, so passengers transferring from the F to the 6 and who want to go uptown are gonna have to either stay on the train, or do a crossover at Canal St or Brooklyn Bridge, which is likely gonna result in them boarding the same uptown 6 train they were already on.
Is there generally safe clearance for people on either side of the train [inside the tunnels]?
One of the first things you do in conductor training is stand in one of those little clearance holes in the wall and let a train pass, and it's what really separates the men (and women) from the boys.
What does a conductor earn?
Starting salaries for conductors are currently about $20/hr, with top pay at $29/hr after 3 years. There is time-and-a-half overtime once you work more than 8 hours a day. There are some conductors who make $100,000+ a year. However, they are at top pay, work 6 days a week, 12 hours a day and have no life outside of work. The average senior conductor makes about $65K a year.
Let's hear the best horror story that you've heard!
There was also the train operator who saw a guy and a girl, both completely naked, both pointing a gun at his train from the platform. He floored it: "Forget it, the customers can stand to miss one little station at 3am".