It probably hasn’t been that long since you were stuck on train that was delayed because of a “sick passenger.” Well, here’s the reason why: A staggering 3,000 trains are delayed every month in New York because of the vague reason.
The New York Times has an in-depth look at the sick passenger phenomenon today which is on the rise this year, up from a mere 1,800 trains a month in 2012. When a conductor announces that there’s a sick passenger on the train, it usually means that someone has fainted or vomited. It does not, in fact, mean that someone has died or jumped on the tracks. In those instances, the conductors are told to announce that they delay is due to a “police investigation.”
When a train is stopped for a sick passenger, the crew alerts a control center that then sends an ambulance to the nearest station. The medical team then rushes underground to find the passenger on the train, they’re instructed not to move riders who can’t walk off the train on their own.
The MTA used to station nurses in some of the busiest stations to cut down on sick passenger delays, but the program was cut in 2008 due to budget restraints.
h/t New York Times