Group calls for better subway service and mental health support in response to ‘ever-present’ police
Double “A cavalryman’s plan for public safety” the report outlines what the city and state can do to get more people riding the subway again. Subway crime fell to record lows during peak ridership years, before the system took a huge hit during the pandemic. A recent survey found office workers reluctant to return to town because they were worried about safety in the subways.
“You feel safe when there are more people. How do you make people feel safe? You improve the service,” said Derrick Holmes of Rider Alliance, who helped write the report.
Adams’ plan relies on police presence, instead of getting more people to use the system.
“Pervasiveness is key. People feel like the system is unsafe because they don’t see their officers,” Adams said. said describing his plan.
A Riders Alliance recommendation for New York State, which operates the MTA, is to improve the service speed of trains so that they run every six minutes. Right now, frustrated people are lingering on the subway platforms, amid huge discounts, even during rush hour.
Another recommendation for the state is to increase funding for more non-law enforcement station personnel who can help patrons feel safe at stations, help them understand how to use the system and tell them where to go in case of an emergency.
On the part of city leaders, the plan called for the expansion of the city’s “Fair Fares” discount program amid rising inflation. Eligibility for the program is currently capped at the federal poverty level, and the plan called for that income limit to be doubled.
In addition, he called for accelerating the conversion of downtown hotels into housing, as well as creating safer homeless shelters, to offload the public transit system from its role as a “last refuge”. appeal”. Despite hundreds of sweeps of homeless encampments across the city and in its subways in recent weeks, only a few people have chosen to get off the streets and go to a shelter instead.
Pedro Valdez-Rivera, a 30-year-old NYCHA resident and Riders Alliance member, said he took the subway every day and started seeing more and more homeless people living on the subway. during the pandemic. He said he saw it as linked to the rising cost of living in the city.
As someone who has struggled with mental illness, he said he believes the city can’t ignore what drives people to live in the subway in the first place.
“Everything is going up, rent, food, clothes, all our necessities going up,” Valdez-Rivera said. “They have nowhere to go. I feel their pain when I see a homeless person.