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In 2020, subway riders and transit workers endured more than COVID-19. Amid the drop in ridership, the commuters who used the transit to get to and from work were imperiled by ranting madmen and opportunistic thugs.
The city’s subways were hit by spikes in robberies, assaults, burglaries and rapes. The virus and the summer’s pop-up George Floyd protests robbed riders of a robust NYPD presence. Recent high-profile attacks on five women at the Morgan Street subway station and an assault against a bus operator are giving riders the impression that the transit system isn’t safe.
Interim MTA president Sarah Feinberg recently wrote to Mayor de Blasio asking for a surge in NYPD presence in the transit system and for 311 to respond to non-emergencies in the subway system. In the letter obtained by The Post, she listed a string of recent violent attacks on passengers and transit workers. TWU Local 100 has joined Feinberg in making the case to de Blasio.
Last year, Gov. Cuomo authorized the MTA to hire an additional 500 MTA police officers to patrol city trains and buses. But the pandemic intervened, with its drop in ridership and revenues, so only 168 got brought in, with 25 more on the way. But the work mainly falls to the 2,700 NYPD Transit Bureau cops tasked with patrolling the system.
As ridership ramps back up, let’s hope hard-pressed Police Commissioner Dermot Shea can at least up patrols of high-crime transit spots. Safe subways are vital to the city’s recovery.
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