Tokyo Metro has apologized after the conductor on one of its subway trains failed to press the emergency brake button despite being aware of an emergency. An empty baby stroller got wedged in the train doors, and was dragged 100 meters along the platform before being smashed to pieces by a metal barrier.
The incident occurred at around 3 p.m. Monday at Kudanshita station on the Hanzomon line in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. On Tuesday, media and transport ministry officials criticized Tokyo Metro for not training the conductor properly in emergency procedures.
Transport minister Keiichi Ishii met with the president of Tokyo Metro and instructed the subway operator to provide an action plan for the prevention of similar incidents in the future, Sankei Shimbun reported.
“It could have led to a very serious accident. What happened is extremely regrettable,” Ishii said after the meeting.
According to Tokyo Metro, a mother holding her baby and accompanied by another of her children entered the train first, followed by the father who was pushing the empty stroller. As he attempted to get on the train, the doors closed and one of the wheels got stuck, leaving him on the platform.
As the train started moving, inside the car, the mother and another passenger pushed the emergency alarm button at least three times, but the conductor did not alert the driver to apply the emergency brake. After about 100 meters, the stroller smashed into the railing at the end of the platform. No one was injured in the incident.
Tokyo Metro said that the train's sensors are designed to sound the alert when an object 1.5 cms or more gets stuck in the door, Sankei reported. This automatically stops the train from moving. However, the shaft of the stroller that got stuck in the door was less than 1.5 cms wide.
Meanwhile, a followup investigation has revealed that the conductor, a woman in her 20s, changed shifts with another conductor at the next station and returned to the Tokyo Metro office in Shibuya. Despite knowing that there had been some kind of an emergency, she was apparently unaware of the stroller incident until being told about it by her supervisor upon her return to the office.
Tokyo Metro said the conductor was hired last year and had been working as a conductor by herself for just 19 days. She has reportedly said that she became very nervous and failed to press the emergency stop button and alert the driver, despite knowing she should have. She also admitted not looking up and down the platform before giving the OK for the train to depart, which is customary procedure for conductors.© Japan Today