MTA begins inspecting all elevated subway tracks for loose debris

A day after a piece of metal came crashing down, smashing the back window of a cab, MTA Transit president Andy Byford promised to put an end to these incidents of falling debris from the elevated train tracks.

"I will not tolerate and cannot tolerate the risk that this presents," Byford said. "We are determined to put a stop to this."

Byford is taking a hands-on approach, ordering a systemwide, seven-day inspection. Examining the 60 miles of elevated track and the more than 325,000 baskets. The inspections started Wednesday morning in Harlem.

"We will undertake an inch-by-inch inspection of all of the baskets that are designed to sit underneath key pieces of equipment," he said.

On Tuesday, a 15-pound piece of metal from the elevated A line in Ozone Park became loose and smashed the back windshield of a cabbie's car.

Byford said the heavy metal piece fell into a basket designed to catch any debris. But the basket wasn't secured and came loose.

A week ago, a similar situation happened near Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City. A bolt became loose and smashed the rooftop of a car.

"These items need to be properly secured," Byford said. "Over time, they can become loose due to vibration."

Aside from inspecting the baskets, the MTA will be using its geometry-inspection cars. Which gives them a high-definition picture of tracks and locates where the problem is.