Proposed MTA Budget Calls For Significant Increase In Police Force

WCBS 880 Newsroom
November 14, 2019 - 3:35 pm
MTA Police

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The newly proposed MTA budget is calling for a significant increase in the number of police officers patrolling the transit system.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports, the initial rationale for hiring 500 new officers was the deal with fare evasion. Now, MTA chairman and CEO Pat Foye is focusing on safety.

“Terrorism's a real thing, it's a real thing, especially with respect to transportation facilities, which have been the subject of attacks around the world, including here."

It’s estimated it will cost the agency $249 million to hire the new fleet of officers. Meanwhile, the reduction in fare evasion is expected to boost revenues by $50 million each year.

“It was never the case that officers were going to be devoted 100% to fare evasion and wouldn't do general policing,” Foye said.

The MTA chairman notes almost 20% of the cops will fill positions that were vacated.

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The plan was first announced in September as a way to “tackle quality of life issues across the public transportation system.”

Fare evasion cost the MTA $225 million last year. Transit President Andy Byford said the goal of increasing the police force is not to put people in handcuffs.

"At the end of the day we're not interested in arresting people, we just want people to pay the fare that they must," Byford said.