MTA Chairman: NYPD will bear 'primary responsibility' for removing homeless from trains during overnight shutdowns

Maya Rajamani
May 01, 2020 - 1:13 pm

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The NYPD will bear the “primary responsibility” for removing homeless people from the subway system during the overnight shutdowns slated to start next week, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said in an interview with 1010 WINS on Friday.

    Starting Wednesday, May 6, the subways will shut down each day from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. so the MTA can disinfect the system and move homeless people out of cars and into shelters, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday, calling conditions in the subway system “disgusting.”

    In an interview with 1010 WINS’ Brigitte Quinn on Friday, Foye said NYPD officers would work with MTA police officers to move homeless people out of the system. 

    “It will be the NYPD in partnership with the MTA police department, but the NYPD’s primary responsibility, and about 2,700 officers in the Transit Bureau,” he said. “So they’ve got primary responsibility. They have really stepped up their activities in terms of policing the system, and offering services to the homeless.”

    The issue of homelessness in the subways has gotten “significantly worse” during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. 

    “That’s not good for the homeless, who are entitled to respect. They’re human beings,” he said. “Many of them are suffering from medical and emotional and mental health issues. They need services, they need treatment, and they need shelter. They shouldn’t be living in the subways.” 

    “Closing the subways from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. is not something that anybody wanted to do, but as the governor noted yesterday there’s been rapid deterioration in kind of the quality of life on the subways, especially in the evening,” he added. 

    Asked what transportation alternatives the approximately 10,000 to 11,000 customers who use the subway during those hours will have, Foye said the MTA is prepared to ramp up bus service. 

    Bus service will be supplemented with livery cabs, yellow and green taxis and for-hire vehicles as needed, he noted.