Cuomo Orders MTA To Address Homelessness In NYC Subway System

July 12, 2019 - 12:04 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ordering the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to address the homeless problem on the city's subway system as part of the transity authority's reorganization plan.

In a letter to the board, Cuomo said the number of homeless people living in the subway increased by 23 percent from last year.

"There's more people who apparently are mentally ill and really need help, and it's sad. It's not just frightening for riders, it's not just disturbing, it's sad," Cuomo said. "What has happened to us when we get to the place that you sit on a subway car with a mentally disturbed person who obviously needs assistance and everyone is powerless?"

The governor says it's become a "year-round phenomenon" that has led to hundreds of subway delays.

"We had homeless people who would go into terminals and subways in the winter,"Cuomo said. "I've never seen it in the middle of the summer."

According to the MTA, trains were delayed 659 times in 2018 by homeless people walking on tracks or engaging in disruptive behavior such as blocking doors. That's a 54 percent increase from 2014 and the problem appears to be getting worse, with the MTA reporting 313 homeless-related train delays in the first three months of 2019.

The governor is making it clear he's not asking the NYPD or the city to help.

"The MTA can do it on its own," Cuomo said. "The MTA does not need the city's policy or city administration to execute this task."

The governor declared he wants it done, saying there are no excuses. He said he will hold the MTA board and the authority's senior management accountable.