Published on:

Officer DS’s memo book were marked for identification

The fact that a common carrier is operated by a governmental entity does not mean it has a lesser responsibility toward the public than one which is under private ownership. In that connection, there is simply no legal basis for imposing the additional burden of proof that plaintiff demonstrate the existence of an “unusually dangerous” condition before she be permitted to recover. Indeed, even if defendant’s obligation herein was only to exercise ordinary and reasonable care to persons boarding or disembarking from its buses, the same duty which a carrier has in maintaining approaches and station platforms, the imposition of the added requirement that plaintiff show “unusual danger” dilutes even the lesser ordinary case standard.

A common carrier does not guarantee its passengers against accident or injury. It is required to exercise reasonable care for their safety. Reasonable care means that care which a reasonably prudent carrier of passengers would exercise under the same circumstances, in keeping with the dangers and risks known to the carrier or which it should reasonably have anticipated.

Defendant cites Barnwell v. New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company, 13 A.D.2d 542, for the proposition that a carrier is not obligated to remove snow and ice from the exposed places on the steps of a moving train while it is traveling between many commuter stations. The situation before us, however, concerns a snowfall which occurred on the day preceding the accident. Further, involved here is not a commuter train with exterior steps exposed to falling snow while the carrier is in transit. Thus, the crucial question is whether defendant’s failure to clear the stairwell of an accumulation of slush constituted a deviation from the standard of care which a common carrier customarily owes to its passenger.

Consequently, the judgment of the Supreme Court, which, found in favor of defendant Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, is reversed on the law and the matter remanded for a new trial.

Contact Information