Rider: Child Drove MTA Train


boy-driving-trainA subway rider says he got the shock of his life when he peered into the cab and saw a kid behind the controls alongside the driver. “I saw him driving. He couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9,” said Jules Cattie, 41. “That has to be the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.” Cattie, a lawyer who lives on the East Side, said he spotted the child after he got into the front car of a Lexington Ave. express train Sunday. “I was just in shock,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is really dangerous.'”The Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday said it has launched “a vigorous and thorough investigation” into the charge.

It would be a blatant violation of work rules if the allegation were true.

“The rule is quite clear – train operators are not allowed to have anyone else with them,” spokesman Paul Fleuranges said. “It’s a hard-and-fast rule.”

The MTA inspector general has also been notified.

Cattie said he knew something was wrong seconds after he got on the uptown train at Fulton St. when he heard the female train operator talking to someone.

“It’s green, speed up,” he recalled her saying. “Yellow, slow down.”

Cattie assumed she was teaching a new MTA worker the ropes.

When the train stopped at 14th St., he was stunned to see a boy emerge from the driver’s compartment.

The kid announced in an official tone to the riders: “We’re being held because of train traffic,” prompting nervous chuckles from riders in the crowded car.

Cattie decided to get a closer look and put his face up against the glass.

It looked like an MTA train operator was giving her son a turn behind the controls, he said.

“The kid was standing there with a female conductor behind him. A little, little kid standing there,” he said.

Cattie put his cell phone up to the window and snapped a picture before getting off the train at E. 42nd St.

Seeing a kid behind the wheel was disturbing to Cattie, especially after last month’s deadly subway train crash in Washington.

“It’s very scary in this day and age,” he said.

Fleuranges said it would take until at least today to identify the driver because of weekend shift changes.

He vowed she would be pulled off duty immediately if a probe confirmed Cattie’s claims.

Just 10 days ago, a Long Island Rail Road engineer was suspended without pay for letting a passenger drive the train.

“The last thing you want is the train operator to be distracted for any reason,” Fleuranges said.

{NY Daily News}