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'Potentially deadly activity' | WMATA speaks out about 'subway surfing' social media trend

Rep. Jamie Raskin stated that the trend is not as pronounced in the DMV, but there is an alarming rise on the East Coast with NYC recording 928 incidents in 2023.

WASHINGTON — A Maryland congressman sparked a conversation about the dangerous "subway surfing" trend on Friday, requesting Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to speak out on the issue. Within a day, that is exactly what they did.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08) wrote letters to WMATA and social media companies Meta and TikTok about subway surfing, which he says claimed the life of a young person in his district. Subway surfers, who are typically teenagers, film themselves climbing and then riding outside or on top of a moving subway car.

“This online trend has deadly consequences,” Raskin wrote. “This summer, my constituent, Jay Thirunarayanapuram, lost his life five days after his 15th birthday while subway surfing. His loving parents and friends are devastated, and our world is poorer for our loss of a bright young artist, animal lover and extraordinary young man.”

Though the two social media platforms' policies restrict content containing “anything unlawful” or “promoting dangerous activities and challenges…that may lead to significant physical harm,” the congressman says some content about subway surfing continues to persist. He is requesting that the platforms perform diligent content monitoring and continue to enforce their guidelines to prevent rapid growth in the trend.

Raskin also wrote to WMATA to show his concern about the trend and to request that Metro share any further steps the authority is considering to reduce and deter the practice. 

In response to the letter, WMATA said, "We share Representative Raskin’s safety concerns regarding subway surfing. While Metro has fortunately not seen many of these incidents, we strongly condemn any form of this dangerous behavior. We have been in touch with NYC Transit and industry safety advocate groups to collaborate on amplifying messages that we hope will discourage this potentially deadly activity. We ask anyone who sees this activity to please immediately contact Metro Transit Police or a Metro employee."

In agreeance, Raskin also stated that the trend is not as pronounced in the DMV, but there is an alarming rise on the East Coast. New York City has recorded 928 incidents in 2023 and four deaths in the first six months of the year, as of his news release on Sept. 8, he said.

WATCH NEXT: 'Subway surfing' social media trend causes child's death in DC

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