MTA Press Releases

Press Release
January 12, 2007
Subway Emergency Exits Are for Emergencies ONLY

MTA NYC Transit is launching an informational campaign telling customers about the addition of panic bars which will allow them to use normally locked gates in the event of an emergency requiring evacuation from subway stations, but also warning that misusing these gates is against the law.

Workers have recently completed the ambitious installation of alarmed emergency exit push bars on locked station gates throughout the system. The customer-operated gates provide for additional exit capacity in case of an emergency only.

According to NYC Transit President Lawrence G Reuter, "the subway system's 469 stations have more than 830 entrances, and we have installed these bars as an added safety guarantee in cases of emergency."

"The security and safety of our customers is one of my top priorities," said MTA CEO & Executive Director Elliot G. Sander. "While we're doing everything to make the subway system as safe and secure as possible, we want to provide our customers with an easy way to evacuate from a station if it does become necessary."

The push bars allow customers inside stations that have paid their fare to exit through the gates during an emergency without waiting for assistance from NYC Transit workers. Work on the bars began late in 2004, and a prototype bar was installed in September 2005 on the Agent-Operated Gate at the Lawrence Street M R station in Downtown Brooklyn.

Beginning in November 2005, NYC Transit began retrofitting gates adjacent to High Entrance Exit Turnstiles and High Exit Turnstiles throughout the system.

When the gate is opened, an alarm sounds to alert the station agent, who can then notify the police or other emergency services. Customers with strollers, carts or other bulky items should request assistance to open the gates from the station agent.

While these push bars have been installed in order to increase exit capacity in the event evacuation of the system is necessary, it should be noted that these gates are to be used only in the case of an emergency. Due to the growing numbers of customers using the Emergency Exit Gates for non-emergencies, such acts can now result in arrest and criminal prosecution or the imposition of civil penalties.

Further information on this campaign can be seen on SubTalk posters and on Take Ones available in stations in English and Spanish.