Computer Strands JFK AirTrain Riders

A computer problem left about 140 passengers stranded on the popular AirTrain serving Kennedy International Airport on Saturday evening, August 25, according to reporting by John Leland in The New York Times (Aug. 27).  Three 2-car trains were stranded, and some passengers were forced to walk almost a mile to the nearest station.  The disruption lasted from about 5:30 p.m. to after 10 p.m.  The situation was compounded by an apparent failure of personnel of Bombardier Inc., which operates the system under contract, promptly to inform owner Port Authority of NY and NJ of the situation.  Once informed, the Port Authority dispatched officers to evacuate the trains, and organized a substitute bus service.  The Port Authority claimed they were not notified for 1 hour, 45 minutes after the trains became stuck; Bombardier officials said they were in touch with the Port Authority within half an hour, but may not have made clear that trains were stranded.  Passengers reported a lack of air conditioning in the hot weather, and unhelpful announcements that said they would be moving shortly and eventually that help was on the way, but none arrived quickly.  The problem was eventually traced to a loose wire in the main computer, according to a Port Authority spokesperson.