Unions ask de Blasio to add more police, mental health providers to NYC transit system patrols

New York State

NEW YORK — Subway ridership has hit another milestone and officials want to make sure riders are experiencing a safe and clean commute. 

On Friday, more than 2.1 million subway swipes and 1.1 million bus rides were logged. 

Unions representing transit crews, municipal employees, some emergency services and retail workers sent a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asking him and the NYPD to deploy more police and mental health providers into the system. 

As riders return to work and the city, Interim NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg says their perception matters. 

“I want them to feel good, safe and confident and secure when they re-enter the system,” she said. 

Mass transit is “the key to a recovery,” according to de Blasio spokesman Mitch Schwartz.

“That’s why the city has put hundreds of officers in the system and deployed 24/7 social service outreach teams,” he said. “Crime is at record lows as ridership continues to increase, and we’d like the MTA to work with us to keep it that way.”

Danny Pearlstein with Riders Alliance said the system is safer with more riders and this is the politics of the subway again. 

“New Yorkers should not be scared into avoiding the subway and listen to twisted statistics on why they shouldn’t ride. The job of the governor is to make transit service as frequent, reliable, accessible and affordable as possible,” he said. 

At the MTA’s monthly board meeting last week, some commissioners and the NYPD Transit Bureau chief debated recent crime statistics, which are tracked by the department. 

Some crimes are down, but assaults are up — even with fewer riders. 

Since 2019, the city and transit officials have been discussing policing in the system. The NYPD has been responsible for law enforcement in the transit system since the mid-1990s. 

MTA Police, affiliated with the state of New York, patrol Grand Central Terminal, railroad stations and other MTA properties. More officers have also been hired.

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