NYC Increasing Police Patrols On Subways, Buses To Combat Assaults, Fare Evasion

June 17, 2019 - 3:39 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced 500 additional uniformed police officers will start patrolling city subways and buses in an effort to improve public safety, protect workers and combat fare evasion.

Cuomo said the move is part of an agreement reached with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, and MTA Chairman Pat Foye.

The announcement came hours after the NYPD released video of a man attacking an MTA worker in a Harlem subway station over the weekend.

The 59-year-old worker was treated for cuts to his face after police said he was punched by a man who ducked under the tape around construction around 3:30 a.m. Saturday at the 145th Street station on the 2 and 3 train. 

"The MTA is still plagued by problems of public safety, attacks against transit workers and persistent fare evasion - issues that have only worsened in recent years," Cuomo said in a statement. "This new multi-pronged effort will improve safety on the system overall, protect workers from these incomprehensible assaults, and deter fare evasion by deploying 500 new uniformed officers on our subways and buses. "

"The safest big city in America deserves the safest subways in America," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "This partnership means more eyes and ears in stations, and more officers for New Yorkers to turn to when they need help." 

Officials say assaults reported by mass transit workers increased 15 percent from 2013 to 2017.

Last year, there were 101 assaults against transit workers, 26 cases where workers were threatened and 2,318 incidents of harassment against transit workers.

Last month, a train operator was punched in the face as she got off the F train at the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue station.

In April, a man was arrested for allegedly throwing urine at two female MTA workers.

Foye said at the present rate, freeloaders will have cost the MTA more than a quarter-billion dollars by the end of this year.

"You can simply stand in a high-traffic subway station and watch people stream through the emergency gates avoiding the turnstile or sit on the bus and watch passenger after passenger walk past the bus driver or board through the back door and not pay," Foye said.

The 500 new officers will mean additional Eagle Team Fare Enforcement on buses and more police eyes and ears on the subways cars and in the stations.

Foye said paying your fare is not optional and evading it harms all of the MTA's customers.