According to an investigation by Barry L. Kluger, Inspector General of the MTA, a number NYC Transit supervisors forced maintainers to lie on vital signal inspection reports, threatening them with things like loss of overtime. But one signal maintainer argued that meeting the MTA's exacting standards was just too hard. He told the Post, "Instead of five signals to inspect [in a shift], they would give you 15. There's no way 15 could be done, but they would say you had to do it. It's like you think your car is fine after going to the mechanic, but they never looked at it."
The fibbing came after the MTA began to face pressure to meet federal standards that call for railway switches and signals to be inspected monthly. The signals are used to keep appropriate space between trains, and a faulty signal could cause unnecessary delays or even a dangerous crash, like Washington D.C.'s June 2009 commuter-rail crash. High-earning Signal Department supervisor Tracy Bowdwin resigned a few weeks ago according to the Daily News, but the Post reports she was demoted following the scandal.
All of the signals have since been reinspected and found safe, and Kluger thanked subway officials jumping on the case. “Because of the seriousness of the issue, rather than wait for the investigation to be completed, we’ve been providing NYC Transit with oversight on an ongoing basis,” he said, adding that officials acted with “prompt and immediate attention to ensure the safety and integrity of the signal system." Straphangers weren't to pleased to learn about the corner cutting. One said, "Of course anytime there are questions raised about safety, you have concerns.... You should be able to trust the people doing these jobs." But this is the MTA we're talking about—maybe the feds should have sent their own guys to do the job.