The MTA aims to bar those felony offenders from the transit system.

POLITICS: Endangered transit workers are the exposed edge of NY’s spiking public-safety woes

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Will the state lawmakers who refuse to fix New York’s botched criminal-justice reforms at least stand up for transit-worker safety?

During the pandemic, these public workers were vital to getting other essential personnel to their jobs; now they’re essential to the city’s recovery. Last year, the state made it a second-degree felony to assault any transit worker, but it’s plainly not enough.

Assaults on MTA subway and bus workers hit a new high in 2022, with 121 reported incidents through November, plus 15 more assaults December-January.

For its part, the MTA aims to bar those felony offenders from the transit system — going so far as asking Bronx DA Darcel Clarke to seek a three-year ban for a man who assaulted a subway maintenance worker last year. All city DAs should prioritize such cases.

The MTA is asking Bronx DA Darcel Clarke to seek a three-year ban for a man who assaulted a subway maintenance worker last year. 

MTA plans to open subway “customer service centers” where straphangers can go for assistance will put 2,000 station agents in harm’s way.
One dataset shows subway workers reporting 16 instances of harassment while bus workers reached 93. 


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Usually-on-their-own bus operators are most vulnerable: One dataset shows subway workers reporting 16 instances of harassment while bus workers reached 93. But MTA plans to open subway “customer service centers” where straphangers can go for assistance will put 2,000 station agents in harm’s way.

More cops underground help, but Gov. Kathy Hochul’s current support for that is only temporary. With the MTA a state agency, lawmakers should at least support (and fund) major expansion of the MTA police force.

But it’s hard to see sufficient gains in underground safety unless the Legislature will go along with bolstering laws across the board, from the no-bail statute to Raise the Age. It’s the same out-of-control criminal class on the subways and buses as everywhere else in the city, after all.

Transit workers deserve the public’s support — but the public deserves the support of its elected lawmakers, too.



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