In a desperate refrain, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to take what appears to be an uptick in violent crime in the subways seriously.
In a continuous criticism of the mayor’s almost mocking response last week to riders reporting that subways felt unsafe, Rapid Transit Operations Vice President Eric Loegel listed off a laundry list of attacks not only against their members, but the public.
“Unfortunately what brings us here is once again the outrageous crime wave that is taking place in our city in particular on our mass transit system, which is marked recently by a series of disturbing crimes that have taken place on the ground,” Loegel said. “We had four separate violent assaults that took place in the New York City transit system. Supervisors, Supervisor in transit, was punched in the face by an unruly passenger at Times Square on the number one train platform. There was. In addition, a slashing, a customer was slashed at Times Square on the number one line today so far.”
According to Loegel, NYPD is now investigating the instance in which a suspect chased train conductor Kevin Rivera through the Willets Point station with a blade and spat on him with misdemeanor menacing, but they have not found the man.
Meanwhile, Gerard Sykes, an MTA worker who was slashed at Cypress Hills Station on the J train is making a slow recovery.
“Sadly once again, we’ve seen several separate attacks within a few hours across three boroughs – two of them taking place at the busiest station in our system by far, Times Sq.-42nd St.,” interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said of the attacks today. “The mayor must act. The transit system needs an injection of additional mental health resources and a visible police presence on platforms and trains to deter crime and better support our customers returning to the system. New York’s economic recovery depends on it.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a recent tweet, said that his administration is in fact funneling resources into the tunnels to deescalate conditions among mentally ill New Yorkers.
“Just hopped off the F train. Our MTA workers never gave up on our city during the worst days of the pandemic,” de Blasio said. “We’ve launched mental health outreach teams and put hundreds more officers in the subways. We need the State to step up too — for MTA workers and subway riders alike.”
Loegel, like other outspoken leaders in the TWU, wants NYPD to begin patrolling not only the turnstiles, but up and down platforms and throughout trains.