The New York Metro Transit Authority has been quietly shuffling the bodies of people killed on the train tracks into rooms where subway employees rest, use the bathroom or even eat lunch, according to multiple reports.
The story broke when members of a New York transportation union told local newspaper the Chief-Leader that one of its members had been severely traumatized after walking into a bathroom and finding a dead body during work.
“You have pieces, you have blood spatter,” Derrick Echevarria, a Transport Workers Union Local 100 official told NY1 News.
Other members of the transportation union said that the MTA regularly moves the bodies of people who have been killed on the train tracks into nearby employee break rooms while they wait for the police and medics to arrive. According to the Chief-Leader, the union has repeatedly brought up the problem with MTA management but did not see a response for years.
“If a lunch room is the nearest, they will put it in the lunch room,” one of the union workers told the New York Post.
In a statement, MTA representative Shams Tarek said that the agency is forced to get the bodies out of the way quickly as they wait for the NYPD and the Medical Examiner to arrive.
“The placement and removal of bodies are handled by NYPD and the NYC Medical Examiner, and we’re discussing with TWU officials how any of the current practices can be enhanced for the comfort of our workers,” Tarek said.
New York City subway trains struck and killed 48 in 2016, a five year low for deaths on the tracks, according to DNA Info. Overall, the subway averages about one death a week. On an average weekday, the subway saw over 5.7 million rides in 2016.
LaShawn Jones, who worked as an MTA station agent for 18 years, told the Post that she saw dead workers handling a dead body when she entered the employee bathroom at 103rd street station in Harlem before her shift.
Even though the incident happened 5 years ago, Jones still remembers seeing “hair and scalp and basically body parts in the sink” when she returned to the bathroom during lunch.
“That can totally mess with your psyche, not just for that day but for the future as well,” Jones said. The MTA declined multiple requests from Business Insider to comment on this story.
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