NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The MTA has moved to ban hoverboards on its trains, buses and station platforms, citing the risk of the device’s lithium-ion battery catching fire.

“The safety of our customers and employees is always our top concern,” said MTA Chief Safety Officer David Mayer.

The MTA said it already prohibits the use of “personal wheeled vehicles,” including skateboards, skates and scooters. The transit agency also pointed to a rule prohibiting hazardous or flammable materials and said the hoverboard’s lithium-ion battery poses the risk of fire.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan told CBS2’s Alice Gainer that hoverboards are “hazardous materials.”

“We don’t allow flammable substances or hazardous materials to be brought into the transportation network. This falls under that prohibition,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.

Subway commuters agreed with the hoverboard ban.

“If a fire starts and we’re underground, that could cause something bad,” Gabriella Soto told CBS2.

Commuter Robinson Santana fears someone riding a hoverboard could fall onto the subway tracks.

“Somebody could slip and fall into the tracks and you could see it coming,” Santana told CBS2.

The popular Christmas gift has come under scrutiny in recent months after multiple reports of batteries spontaneously catching fire or exploding.

In late December, two families — one in New Jersey and one in Brooklyn — reported their motorized scooters had burst into flames.

“…Certainly you don’t want anything like that in a crowded subway car or a train,” MTA Vice Chair Fernando Ferrer told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration recently issued an alert warning that under certain conditions the lithium batteries could pose a risk of heat, fire and explosion. The administration also found that 80 percent of hoverboard-type devices did not have proper certification of battery testing, the MTA said.

The ban will span all of the MTA’s transit systems, including subways, buses, Metro-North, LIRR, and the Staten Island Railway.

The MTA is joining a host of other transit agencies across the country to ban hoverboards and similar motorized devices. Amtrak as well as Chicago’s Metra and Los Angeles’ Metrolink and most U.S. airlines have already instituted bans.

The ban will be enforced by the MTA police and the NYPD.


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