The State Appeals Court has found that the NYC Transit Authority - the NYC division of the MTA - is responsible for maintaining subway exits and entrances. The thing is, the MTA doesn't even own the exits and entrances. Still, the court found that the NYCTA is liable for injuries that a woman suffered while falling down steps at the Columbus Circle station back in 1995. Here's an excerpt of the opinion:

In the case before us, the evidence at trial was sufficient to establish that the stairway in question was used primarily as a means of access to and from the subway. Therefore, defendants had a duty to maintain the stairway or to warn patrons of any dangerous condition. So imperative is the duty to provide a safe means of access to and from the subway that such duty may not be delegated to another. Thus, even if the responsibility to maintain the stairway resides in another entity, defendants may not avoid their responsibility "to at least provide against injury to its passengers by erecting such barricades, or giving such warning, as [would] guard against accidents" (Schlessinger, 49 Misc at 506).

While we're not crazy about the idea of tons of lawsuits, the MTA stairs can be dangerous - especially these past few days with the slush and ice. Use those handrails, because as tempting as suing the MTA may be, we rather you be healthy. You can read the full decision here.

And MTA executive director Elliot Sander has some ideas on how to cut MTA costs. amNY reports Sander told state lawmakers that possibilities could be merging HR and payrolls of all MTA agencies, merging the MTA's three bus companies, and creating a panel to find ways to reduce construction costs.

Photograph of an MTA stairwell by Wayne's New York on Flickr