NEW YORK — MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye told PIX11 that the transit agency wants the NYPD to send hundreds more police officers underground amid an ongoing rise in subway assaults.
According to Foye, 75% of MTA customers surveyed said their top concerns currently are crime and harassment on subways, and that transit workers share the same fear.
Foye said from January to the end of April, felony assaults were up over 40% from three years ago, and up over 20% compared to two years ago.
According to Foye, MTA employees share the same concerns as riders.
Over the past six months there have been at least 1,000 attacks, assaults, threats and spitting incidents involving transit workers, he said.
While the NYPD just last week agreed to send auxiliary officers to the top 20 busiest stations, the MTA chairman said more needs to be done.
“We thank Commissioner Shea for the posting of auxiliary officers…but frankly we need more uniformed, full-time officers and mental health resources,” Foye said.
He mentioned the 500 to 600 officers surged into the transit system earlier in the year were useful, but that it was not clear how many were still in the system.
“We’re asking for an additional 600 officers,” Foye said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, in an effort to instill confidence in public transit as the city reopens, has contended that the subways are safe and riders feel safe.
“What we’re doing is advocating for our customers,” Foye said, again pointing to the survey results showing riders continue to be worried about crime.
The MTA boss said subways hit a new record for pandemic ridership Thursday, with 2.2 million people swiping to ride, but he said there are still millions more they need to bring back in the coming months if the city wants to fully recover.
“Being able to ensure our customers and our employees that the system is safe, and that they can be free from harassment, is the reason we’re asking for additional full-time, uniformed police officers and mental health resources,” Foye said.
Additionally, he confirmed that the cleaning and disinfecting of subway trains, stations and platforms will continue after overnight service returns on May 17.