NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The head of the transit authority is begging the mayor and NYPD for more police.
She says safety concerns are preventing people from going back to the subway, with one MTA Surveys show that 72% of riders are concerned about crime and harassment.
A whopping 87% of subway riders say that subway safety is the biggest factor determining whether or not they will return to public transport and that those decisions can be made or Disrupt the city’s return from pandemic.
“I’m scared. We used to get on the bus, get on the subway, go into the city and shop and now I think about it,” said one.
“I don’t want to take the train and go to Manhattan,” said another.
The increase in hostile crime and reports of attacks have clearly contributed to the fear of taking public transport.
An incident recorded by a subway station camera on April 6 showed a man approaching behind a driver and punching him in the head to steal his wallet and cell phone.
A new MTA survey found that subway riders feel less secure than they did six months ago.
Only 26% are satisfied with safety, down 16.4% from September and 72% say they are “very concerned” about crime and harassment.
People who are not currently using public transport are even more concerned.
Seven out of ten so-called “lapsed” people say that crime is “critically important” in their decision to take public transport again.
“We are at a really important moment. Over the next three to six months, I think those who are already at home will make a decision about whether they will come back and if we can’t get them back into the system right now, we’ll lose them in a long time, ”Acting MTA Transit Chairman Sarah Feinberg told Marcia Kramer of CBS2.
Feinberg said Mayors Bill de Blasio and NYPD needed to bring more police into the trains because the city’s economic recovery depended on it.
“New York can’t come back unless the transit system is back on and the transit system can’t come back again unless the riders come back,” she said.
In recent months, NYPD has assigned 600 more police officers to the transportation systemBut transport officials say it just isn’t enough.
Transport unions indicated that in the past six months, 1,088 transport workers were assaulted, spit, or forced.
“We don’t need the police at the turnstile. We need them on platforms, trains and buses, ”said Tony Utano, president of Transit Union Local 100.
The riders told CBS2 they still had a lot of fears.
“There are fewer riders and people who are not defensive and there are a lot of homeless people on the subway, more people with mental illness,” said one driver.
“With the COVID and with all the attacks I was very nervous,” said another driver.
“No, I don’t feel safe,” said another driver.
The plea for more police fell into the ears of the deaf. A mayor’s spokesperson confirmed that subway crime was at its lowest level in history, saying, “The MTA should encourage people to take the subway, not scare them.”