The MTA will pay rewards to help them catch riders who beat workers
The MTA will start paying straphangers to rat out thugs who beat up its employees.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a new program would reward anonymous tipsters with up to $2,000 for helping cops catch people who injure MTA workers. The MTA is paying for the program, called Transit Watch.
Cuomo said it "puts criminals on notice that if they assault a bus, subway or train employee, everyone who sees it happen is going to help put them in jail."
Assaults on MTA workers increased from 72 in 2010 to 94 in 2011, according to MTA statistics. At least 48 employees have been assaulted so far this year, up from 40 during the same period last year.
The Transport Workers Union and MTA met earlier this month to try to come up with ways to combat the problem. MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said the witness rewards program is a response to those discussions, calling it a "warning shot" to would-be offenders.
"We want to highlight that this is going on and to try to prevent it," Lhota said Monday, adding: "An attack on any one of our workers is an attack on all of us."
President John Samuelsen said he thinks rewards "will help" cut down on assaults on workers.
"It's going to take a combination of various approaches to begin to seriously address the problem," he said Monday. "This is a very positive step forward."