Gov. Cuomo assigns additional 500 officers in new transit safety plan

Kimberly Dole
June 17, 2019 - 11:41 am
Andrew Cuomo

SHAWN DOWD/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Gov. Cuomo announced on Monday that an additional 500 officers will be assigned to buses and subway stations in an attempt to address recent harassment and assault towards MTA workers, massive fare-evasion problems and overall safety.

The plan calls for 200 MTA officers to be redeployed and 200 NYPD officers to be added, as well as 100 bridge and tunnel officers moved to the system because there's less need for them at cashless bridge and tunnel crossings.

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Cuomo says there have been 100 assaults on train and bus employees, with a recent attack on an MTA employee at a Hamilton Heights subway station just this past Saturday.

The Legal Aid Society blasted Cuomo's announcement.

"The further criminalization of low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford MTA fare erodes the progress we have made to make New York a more fair and just city," chief attorney Tina Luongo said in a statement. "More officers patrolling subway stations and bus stops will deter our clients from meeting their court obligations and accessing employment, education, or other critical services. This is simply wrongheaded and cruel policy, and Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and others should bolster the current Fair Fares program to address fare evasion instead of preying pointlessly on the neediest New Yorkers."

The MTA says assaults reported by employees increased by 15.2% from 2013 to 2017. The agency says lost revenue from fare evasion jumped from $105 million in 2015 to $225 million in 2018.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., who stopped prosecuting most subway fare evasion cases last year, says his office will contribute $40 million to the policing effort.

Under a revised policy, the NYPD now issues summonses to most fare evasion suspects instead of arresting them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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