Stranded Subway Riders Refuse To Exit Train During Storm

Diverted To Coney Island, 100 Straphangers Huddle For 4 Hours

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/ CBS 2) — About 100 subway riders refused to leave their train after being ordered off during the massive snowstorm that raged just outside their doors, and Transit Authority spokesman Kevin Ortiz admitted they could have done a better job at communicating with the passengers.

The nightmare commute home began just after midnight on Thursday as riders boarded a Brooklyn-bound D train but were told by subway conductors to exit the train and take the N train bound for Coney Island instead.

WCBS 880 Reporter Rich Lamb talks with City Councilman Vacca about the incident

Useful Links:Forecast, Warnings & Alerts | Closings & Delays | Traffic & Transit | Radar Map | LISTEN LIVE: 1010 WINS | WCBS 880

The N train finally stopped at the Coney Island station at 2 a.m. and riders were then ordered by the Transit Authority to get off the train. At that point during the snowstorm, no buses were running and riders flatly refused to leave their train cars and huddled for four hours to stay warm.

Passenger Charlie Oliver told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin everyone onboard was beyond furious.

“It was snowing, a snowstorm, 2 in the morning and they just didn’t care,” said Oliver, whose nightmare on the N train was captured on cell phone camera.

“The absolute worst moment was having that engineer look at me and say ‘it’s not my job. I don’t care. Get off the train,’” Oliver said.

“I think we could have done a better job of communicating with the passengers explaining exactly why we initially we wanted them to disembark and exit the train,” Ortiz said.

Her misery began in Manhattan. There was confusion as riders were transferred from D and Q trains on to the fateful N train, with a sudden route change to Coney Island. They were promised from there they could double back to their stops.

But that never happened.

At Coney Island station riders were shocked to learn they were at the end of the line. Service was suspended and that’s not all: They’d have to find their own ways home at the height of the storm.

“I said what do you want us to do and he said take a cab,” Oliver said. “We’re very vocal. Are you crazy? Would you treat your mother this way? We argued him down.”

Snap a few pictures? Send your storm photos to

SEE: Photos from This Storm

The MTA told WCBS 880′ Lamb they wanted to use the equipment to keep the tracks clear, but they didn’t tell the passengers.

Council Transportation Chair James Vacca said the incident concerns him greatly. The MTA needs a better emergency preparedness plan, said Vacca.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blasted the MTA.

“Absolutely unacceptable,” de Blasio said. “If you tell people, hey we’re gonna take you somewhere and that’s how you’re gonna get home and then suddenly you say no we’re not going to after all that is absolutely unfair.”

He said riders and politicians must keep pressure on the MTA to have a new plan to make sure all stranded riders are quickly rescued, kept in the loop, and out of the cold.

This isn’t the first time subway riders have been stranded during a snowstorm. During the Dec. 26 blizzard, hundreds were stuck for hours on an above-ground A train.

Stranded passengers are not exclusive to the MTA, during last month’s blizzard 50 bus riders were stranded in New Jersey.

What would you have done if you were on the train? Comment below!

More from Rich Lamb

One Comment

  1. The Good Samaritan says:

    Hoemless people always rides and sleeps on the train when it snows.

    The Good Samaritan has spoken.

    1. Sal says:

      The Good Samaritan also needs spelling lessons.

  2. Sara says:

    Did anyone ask why the hell so many people were on the train in the middle of a huge snowstorm at 2am????

    1. Kate says:

      First, the dear knows how many hours were wasted as they were driven like cattle from train to train! They were probably coming off shifts at nursing homes and hospitals. During storms, staff must stay on shift until they’re replaced! So you have cold, hungry, and rather frightened people who can’t afford cabs — IF a cab driver is crazy enough to ignore NYC official warnings and drive a car in a blizzard!!! They don’t want to stand huddled on a dark, freezing platform, without even heat, light, or seats! Does the MTA care? Nonsense, never, of course not!

  3. Ace of Spades says:

    cant wait till all this snow is gone so i can start riding my bicycle or skates to work.

  4. Mr. Armenia says:

    Why weren’t the passengers issued summonses for not exiting the train?

    1. CSI says:

      To let loosers like you ask these types of questions.

    2. Kate says:

      Summonses? The MTA herds them from line to line, and finally abandons them in CONEY ISLAND, at the end of the line, on a dangerous outside platform without heat, lighting, seats, or toilets at 2 AM in a blizzard. The Mayor STOPPED ALL BUSES!!! The Mayor advised all taxi-cans and private cars to stay off streets during the storm!! You maybe expected the passengers to flap their arms and fly home? They pay their fares, the arrogant, stupid MTA offers no help. An intelligent, compassionate agency would have offered help to reach operating subway lines, and been hailed as a NYC hero.

  5. franklobato says:

    People should never forget that real health depends how well you take care of yourself and not what health insurance you carry but I agree health insurance is important for every one. Search “Wise Health Insurance” online for dollar a day insurance plans.

  6. ROBERT BROWN says:


  7. Jim Gordon says:

    I go of the A train last stop 207st. at 7:25 p.m. There were 4 MTA workers 3 were shoveling the snow around the -entrance way to the Subway stop.
    While supervisor was overseeing the workers.

    Time to review the MTA salary and stop cutting the fat.

  8. Sal says:

    Unions in the US are one of the reasons jobs leave and go overseas.
    They help the mostly incompetent and uneducated to keep a job they are way overpaid for.
    If most union workers were out of work tomorrow, they would never be able to find another job above minumum wage.

  9. Ray says:

    This is the kind of service citizens pay dearly for every single day. MTA is a joke, raise hikes, service cuts, inability to handle emergency situations, rude and incompetent employees, the city that proclaims itself as “the capital of the world” runs on the most laughable public transportation system.

    1. KPMc says:

      The most extensive, reliable transportation system in the world gets you to almost any point in the greatest city in the world for less than $2.25.

      Idiots pay 5 bucks for a cup of coffee and $300 for every new iphone, ipad or other garbage that comes out. But $2.25 is too much?

      Give me a freakin’ break. People have plenty of money for luxuries but necessities.. . not so much. They think that government services somehow come for free and we don’t pay for it.

      1. Ray says:

        It’s all about value for your money is it not? I think if we get what we paid for people would not be so quick to complain. Not sure why you’re comparing apples and oranges but since you are, here’s my take. Those gadgets you mentioned come at a hefty price I agree, but at least as a consumer you know what you’re getting into, you’ve done your research, you know what it’s all about, there are warranties to back it up. With subways? One day you get to work in 30 minutes, next day it takes you 20 minutes just from one station to another, and most of the time no one really knows what the heck is going on.

        Not sure why you’re hating on those “luxury” items you listed out, those are the evolution of technology that will eventually become necessities in the world we live in, as people evolve, the technology we need will also do the same. Are you still on a rotary dial phone? You know you can be, that’s all you REALLY need, right? ?

        Seems like the only thing that hasn’t evolved is the MTA.

      2. Rubyball says:

        $2.25? Sorry its a lot more than that, you forgot all the MTA taxes slapped on what seems to be everything these days, land phone bills, cable bills, cell phone bills,ect.
        Heck they want congestion pricing (tolls) @ $10 a trip per car and more for trucks during weekdays to help pay for the MTA. So its not $2.25, its a lot more than that.

      3. Ray says:

        And by the way KPMc, I’ll give you “extensive”, but before you go around bragging about how the NYC MTA is the most reliable transportation system in the world, I suggest you take off that I Love NY t-shirt of yours and actually go see the world first. You’d be surprised how many other cities actually offer the service that their people deserve.

      4. Kate says:

        When you earn minimum wage, you don’t pay $ 5 for coffee; you carry a thermos from home. But I deduce you are one of the people who can afford every electronic device, and has extravagant contempt for those who cannot afford and don’t want them.

        Yes, $ 2.25 is too much for a privatized, non-government, non-regulatedsystem which frankly operates with two sets of account books and regularly increases the vast salaries of its director and board.

  10. MTA Anti-Cry baby Club says:

    Wake up New York!!! Do any of you numbnuts even know where the ‘A’ train or the ‘F’ train go??? The same people that live in their own little bubble are the ones who seem to be very opinionated as to how things should be run. Trains need to be removed from service for many reasons, this one was for snow sweeping. So the tuff guy passengers refused to get off? Ok, then you sit on the train until you get tired of going nowhere. The when the snow builds up and the trains can’t move…woops, you’ll blame the MTA for that too…WAKE UP NEW YORK!

    1. unionssuckpeepee says:

      this guy must ba e union s c um. get a real joib, oh wait u cant, thats why u work for a union


    Our fathers and grandfathers fought and died for the rights of workers, which you and your family enjoy today. Unions raise up all workers. You should be ashamed of your ignorance

    1. KPMc says:

      Unions raise up all workers? You mean to the status where they are lazy good for nothing, do nothings that think they are entitled to every perk yet can’t put in a full day’s work?

      Those people?

    2. Rubyball says:

      Ya Francis I come from a Union family. And there are only a few unions I would call good. And those are still infested with corruption, such as construction unions.
      To Construction Unions, if the hall sends a guy to a job, the boss can let him go at any time he wants, he just needs to get another from the hall. Can keep doing this until he gets a competent worker. This is how Unions should work.
      But lets look at other unions, hotel unions for instance. If a NYC Hotel get a bad egg worker, they can’t fire him with out cause and then even then its up to union review. If a hotel tries to dump to many employees, union cry’s union busting and calls for a strike. If a hotel gets enough bad eggs where no one is working, they have to shut down completely for “renovations” for 3 months or more then they can let everyone go and get all new union staff, which they hope are better than the last. If you let the hotel fire a union employee but just has to take another, and can do this over and over again till they get a good one, this will make the hotel happier, and the worker will be like everyone else, do a good job or your gone, and they still get there union rates and benies!

      So Unions, although had there place, are a bloated, &/or corrupt idea which has seen its day. Free market, if your a good worker you will have work!

      1. Greece NY says:

        This applies to all UNIONS right? Then I agree. Look what happened to GM. Teachers, Cops and Firemen better wake up too. They get PENSIONS up to 100G’s and they pay limited taxes and get their health care paid for. Sounds like a winning lottery ticket on the back of taxpayers. Keep it up and we all go down!

  12. jfk69 says:

    Finally whiny New Yorkers grow some. Now if they can muster enough self righteous indignation and take back the dysfunctional city and state government from the career politicians,we might be headed in the right direction.

  13. BrooklynCyclone says:

    I ride the MTA to work every day. I try to ride the F and the A train. I always wind up on the “STUPID” train. Of all the ways something can be done (tight, wrong, lazy, half baked…) the MTA always does things the stupid way.

  14. Jerome Howard says:

    Unions. Exactly! Every problem in NYC can be traced back to unions. Remember a few years ago when the transit workers went on strike and crippled the city? Heads should have rolled but of course didn’t.

  15. Don Juan says:

    Unions are made up of workers. If you hate unions, then you really hate the workers. Shame.

    1. Rubyball says:

      Don Juan:
      If your so Union or “worker lover”
      How much union made items do you buy? Is your entire wardrobe bearing the union label? Do you buy Detroit cars? Do you give up shopping at Walmart, because they are anti-union and sell non union made products? Do you buy Louisiana shrimp or do you buy whats on sale at CostCo?
      I doubt you do any of the above, why? Because Union made is not cheap, it is very expensive. Most union members don’t even buy Union!

      Union is not worker loving, its consumer hating. And even union member are consumers, so I guess they hate themselves. 😉

    2. NYC1996 says:

      Not all workers – just the lazy, incompetent, rude, feckless, dimwitted ones that work for the MTA and other city agencies.

  16. Tom says:

    Now Mike the Mayor will give the MTA chief A+

  17. MTA Hater says:

    Is anyone seriously surprised? The MTA is, by far, THE worst ass backwards agency in NYC. Corruption and apathy are the “bread and water” foundation that feed these slime balls. Now we see NYC Sanitation is the long lost twin brother. This city is crumbling and we made a HUGE mistake re-electing Bloomberg.

    1. Trish says:

      The mayor of NYC has nothing to do with the MTA. The Sanitation Department along with all those other Departments that are runned by NY City have the same problem and its called UNIONS.

  18. nyc says:

    It is hard to believe that the MTA has no plan to transport people from a train that is stopped ? What would happen in a extreme emergency ? Ridiculous !

  19. Artie says:

    This is not the first time that the MTA got it wrong. It basically occurs EVERY DAY. When was the last time passengers received a MEANINGFUL message? The usual messages are canned MTS-speak like…”After an earlier incident trains are running at slower speeds” Why not a real message.

    1. Rubyball says:

      They use canned message, because if they used the real reasons they would sound like the idiots they are.

      Bing Bong: “Do to a 25¢ light bulb going out at a signal ahead, we will need to run this entire line at reduced speed delaying 10’s of thousands of riders. And the transit worker who can change it is on a union mandated 30 min break. Sorry.”

  20. sally rogers says:

    I would have put the whole thing on video and also, like these riders, I would never get off that train. MTA is really not very professional and NYers are not going to take it anymore. These people were smart and stayed off the roads and then got treated like cattle? MTA shame on you!

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

Get Our Morning Briefs

Watch & Listen LIVE