Saving Lives with Subway Gates

Ideas and Issues
Tokyo Subway Gates

New Orleans    Big headlines in the New York papers last week about an Indian man being pushed in front of a subway to his death by a mentally deranged woman bent on killing Muslim “terrorists,” no matter how Hindu.  I immediately thought of the gates on subway platforms that I saw so recently in Tokyo and Seoul.  There I was told that they were built in order to prevent business commuters from falling on the tracks to their death after getting too drunk after work.  Why do we not have these gates in the United States?

Mayor Bloomberg seems to have scoffed at the idea.  Gates are obviously not as sexy as guns or soda pop or cigarettes as killers.  The billionaire mayor essentially told New Yorkers to buck up and watch their backs.  The subway system says that 55 folks died on the tracks in 2010 and 47 in 2011, while 140 plus or minus per year are injured on the tracks.  Meanwhile it would cost $1M per gate to protect all 500 subway stops.  Well, perhaps you wouldn’t have to do every stop, there might be some where the Mayor and others might say, “what the heck, let’ him fall!”  Meanwhile an advertising company has offered to pay the entire cost, close to half-a-billion dollars if they could run a screen with ads on the gates.  Might be a deal to be made there, if they were willing to run stock market quotations from Bloomberg’s tickers?  Seriously, how hard is this to get done or make a deal?

Why have such a safe system in Tokyo and Seoul, and let it all fly in the USA?

Seoul subway train