Bus Driver Arrested For Crash Death

This past Tuesday, I wrote about Carol Bell, the elderly woman who was struck & killed by a NYC Transit bus in the early morning hours that was headed back to the East New York Depot. I opined that I was very curious about the investigation as I found it hard to believe the driver could have zero clue he hit an actual person.

Not long after, not only was the driver identified but arrested. Here is more on the 48 year old Paul Roper being arrested via a NY1 News report:

An MTA bus driver was arraigned Wednesday for his alleged involvement in a deadly hit and run in Brooklyn.

The 48-year-old Paul Roper is being held on $25,000 bond after police say he struck 70-year-old Carol Bell.

Surveillance video from NBC shows the moments right before Bell was hit crossing at Sackman and Fulton streets in Cypress Hills Tuesday morning.

After hitting Bell, police say Roper did not stop, and kept driving towards a bus depot in East New York.

Bell’s daughter says she wants answers as to how Roper didn’t see her mother crossing the street.

“I’ve seen the google, I’ve seen the news,” said Alisa Bell. “You are not going to tell me that you didn’t see my mom, white Caucasian, bright green sweater with a walker. But you hit her and you keep on going? Where she was dismangled. ”

Roper’s wife says he was unaware he hit anyone until after he was questioned at the depot.

That’s where blood was found on the wheels of the bus.

“He didn’t mean to do it,” said Sonia Roper. “He didn’t mean to do it. Because he’s not that type of guy. I know for a fact he didn’t see that lady because he would have stopped it. And if he knew that was a person I know he wouldn’t have pulled off. If he saw the lady in front of him he would have stopped the bus.”

Roper faces charges that include leaving the scene of an accident and failing to yield to a pedestrian with the right of way.

He’s been a bus driver for 15 years.

The MTA has suspended Roper without pay.

It is so hard to picture how this all went down. On one hand, loved ones can’t understand how she could not be seen based on what she was wearing. Yet on the other side, we have the claim that Paul would never do such a thing. So which side is closer to the reality? We might not never know.

Regardless of which side is, the sad reality is this tragedy will never be forgotten.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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FASTRACK Returns To A & C In Manhattan

MTA NYC Transit’s FASTRACK program will be returning to the A Train & C Train in Manhattan next week. Here are the details:

MTA New York City Transit brings FASTRACK to the AC lines in upper Manhattan for two consecutive weeks. Beginning Monday, November 9, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., for four consecutive weeknights, and from Monday, November 16, to early morning Friday, November 20, A trains are suspended in both directions between 168 St and Inwood-207 St. 1 trains, Special M4 buses and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. C service will end early each night.

Travel alternatives:

• Free shuttle buses operate on Broadway between 168 St and Inwood-207 St, stopping at 175 St, 181 St, 190 St, and Dyckman St.

• Free shuttle buses run between the Dyckman St A and 1 stations.

• For service to/from A stations at Inwood-207 St and Dyckman St, use nearby 1 stations instead, or free shuttle buses.

• For service to/from A stations at 190 St, 181 St, and 175 St, use the 1 or take special M4 buses instead.

• Transfer between A and 1 trains special M4 and free shuttle buses at the 168 St station.

• A local service at C stations will begin early each night.

Joseph Leader, Senior Vice President for the Department of Subways, said, “FASTRACK has proven to have a significant impact on decreasing delays – both in terms of consolidating maintenance forces in a concentrated area and in terms of proactive maintenance that improves service delivery.”

FASTRACK has been designed around the careful determination that there is adequate alternate means of transportation, including enhanced services along some bus lines during work periods. Alternative transportation options will be detailed in announcements and posters on trains, in stations and on selected buses; brochures will be available in both English and Spanish. Information on this FASTRACK is available on the web at http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/fastrack_A.htm

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Chairman Statement On Capital Program

With the media & local officials all over the MTA about the $1 billion cut for the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway project from the recently approved 2015-2019 Capital Program, MTA Chairman & CEO Thomas F. Prendergast has released the following statement:

The new MTA Capital Program includes $535 million over the next four years for design, planning, environmental review, property acquisition, utility relocation and construction preparations to bring the Second Avenue Subway to East Harlem. This reflects the work we can realistically accomplish in the next four years given the regulatory and engineering constraints on heavy construction in a densely populated section of Manhattan.

We have committed that if we can speed up the schedule to begin tunneling the East Harlem phase sooner, we will pursue a Capital Program amendment to do so. Governor Cuomo has made clear that he would like us to accelerate work on the Second Avenue Subway, and we are actively looking for ways to deliver the project faster.

The MTA Board last week unanimously approved a 2015-2019 MTA Capital Program that reduced the Second Avenue Subway allocation due to construction timing, including city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, when she voted for what she called “a very terrific capital plan.”

No surprise that he came out with a statement after all the backlash. It is good to know if the funding becomes available (I’m looking at you Andrew & other elected officials), that an amendment would be made to do so. Hopefully the money will come to fruition in the very near future.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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NYC Transit Bus Kills Elderly Woman

In a sad piece of transit news, an elderly woman named Carol Bell was struck & killed by a bus this morning in Brooklyn as it headed back to the East New York Depot. Benjamin Mueller of the New York Times has more:

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus hit a 70-year-old woman who was crossing the street in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning, killing her, and then continued on to a nearby depot, the authorities said.

By the time investigators determined through surveillance video which bus was involved in the crash, a second driver had picked it up from the depot and begun a new route, apparently not knowing it had hit a woman earlier in the morning, an authority spokeswoman, Amanda Kwan, said.

The police said the surveillance video obtained by investigators showed the bus stopping briefly after hitting the woman, Carol Bell, at the intersection of Sackman and Fulton Streets in the Broadway Junction section of Brooklyn around 6:15 a.m. Then the bus drove off to the East New York Depot, several blocks away, near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Broadway, the police said.

The driver was not immediately located on Tuesday morning, but by the afternoon, investigators had identified the driver and were questioning that person, the police said.

Ms. Kwan said the authorities towed the bus back to the depot after identifying its rooftop number through surveillance video and pulling it over along the B15 bus route, with a fresh driver at its wheel.

Click here for the complete report.

First off my condolences go out to the family & friends of Carol Bell who tragically lost her life.

I am very curious to hear the results of the investigation of this accident as it always catches my attention when a driver fails to notice that they hit a human being. I could see not knowing you ran over an animal or piece of debris but a human!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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NJ Transit Leader Coming To The MTA?

That is the question being posed in some transit circles as rumors swirl that the MTA will soon name NJ Transit executive director Ronnie Hakim as the next president of NYC Transit. Andrew Tangel of the Wall Street Journal has more:

Ronnie Hakim, NJ Transit’s executive director, is expected to be named to a top Metropolitan Transportation Authority post overseeing New York City’s subways and buses, people familiar with the matter said.

Ms. Hakim, 55 years old, is expected to become the next president of the MTA’s New York City Transit division, these people said, but it wasn’t clear when she might make the move.

One of these people said that the final terms of a deal hadn’t yet been reached, leaving open the possibility Ms. Hakim might not wind up being appointed to the position.

A spokeswoman for NJ Transit and a spokesman for the MTA declined to comment.

Click here for the complete report.

If the rumors are true, one could argue the timing could not be worse for NJ Transit which is in the midst of financial crisis which is never a good thing heading into negotiations with union leaders. Her job at NYC Transit would be a big step up on paper but her prior experience should help with a smooth transition to an arm of the agency dealing with many issues itself.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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