Report cites lack of an emergency notification on board North Co - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Report cites lack of an emergency notification on board North County Coaster

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The lack of an emergency notification on board the North County Coaster and incorrect information on the Coaster's website are conditions that need to be corrected to promote passenger safety, according to a report released Wednesday by the San Diego County grand jury.

According to the report, management of the North County Transit District's Coaster, a commuter train that operates between downtown San Diego and Oceanside, was unaware that Internet information about the Coaster was incorrect, and a promise to correct the errors was not honored.

In addition, NCTD management appeared to be making assumptions on how many passengers may handle emergencies despite the lack of correct information on how to do so, according to the report.

The grand jury said it found that other train systems did have adequate procedures posted for dealing with emergencies.

According to the report, Coaster management is developing a wireless intercom system scheduled to be in place by the end of the year.

The report, "North County Transit District Coaster: Passengers Unnecessarily at Risk," includes a commendation section noting NCTD's high level of service.

The NCTD issued a statement thanking the grand jury for its review of the Coaster emergency communications system and its recognition of the professionalism of the employees who operate the Coaster in a safe and efficient manner.

"The safety of our customers and employees is NCTD's top priority and we welcome the grand jury's input," the statement said. "In light of suggestions presented by the grand jury, it is important to note that NCTD's Coaster operations meet all applicable requirements established by the Federal Railroad Administration which is responsible for safety oversight of Coaster operations.

"Prior to the grand jury's review and report, NCTD staff was already advancing technology based on initiatives beyond what it required by current federal law that supports improved communications with passengers during emergencies."

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