Metro Transit light rail operators union leader says system faces 'safety crisis'

February 03, 2019 10:31 PM

The leader of the union representing Metro Transit light rail operators told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the "entire LRT system is a safety crisis and its design was flawed."

Ryan Timlin, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, told KSTP the union fought for safety features on the metro's LRT system that were never put in place.

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"The fact it wasn't elevated, the fact it wasn't built underground is where it starts," said Timlin. "The fact that cross arms were never put out there, or more warning systems, tells you bad accidents were bound to happen.

Timlin said a shortage of LRT operators has contributed to safety issues and there are still things that could be put in place to make the light rail system safer for the public.

RELATED: Family of man killed in light rail crash calls for changes to state law

"In my opinion, the whole light rail system was designed poorly and has safety flaws," said Timlin. "We could have used the cross arms and the horizontal and vertical signals LRT operators see to tell them when to proceed are too small and should be larger and easier to see."

Timlin said hiring more LRT operators is something that would contribute greatly to enhancing safety for the operators, passengers and the driving public.

"When you are going back and forth all day long on one route it is easy to get distracted in that operator's seat," said Timlin. "With everything going on around you, and with all the cars and everything, eventually a mistake is going to be made."

Timlin said he does not think putting security cameras inside the cabs of LRT operators will make the system safer, or help investigators after LRT accidents occur.

"I don't think cameras inside operators cabs should be done," said Timlin.  "I don't think it will make anything clearer and, if cameras in cabs do happen, we have to make sure our employees are not targeted."

"I think they're trying to find all these reasons instead of looking at the real issue," said Timlin.  "It was the way the whole system was designed that created this crisis."

KSTP asked Metro Transit to comment on the union's statements, but the agency has not yet responded.

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Credits

Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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