Crime, COVID keeping riders away from subway: MTA survey

An MTA survey of subway passengers has revealed that more riders are frightened about crime and harassment than before.

Video Transcript

- New at 6:00, a disturbing trend clearly underway underground in New York City. An MTA survey of its subway passengers show more riders are frightened about crime and harassment than ever before. This even though ridership is still very low. Down 2/3 in fact from before the pandemic. We're talking for instance, this week two years ago. The answer according to the survey, get more cops underground. Here's "Eyewitness News" reporter Darla Miles.

BILL DE BLASIO: I've talked to New Yorkers all over the city. They are focused on this city coming back. I do not believe New Yorkers live in fear. It's just not who we are.

DARLA MILES: This is what Mayor de Blasio had to say about New Yorkers last week, but that's not what they're telling the MTA, especially after seeing and hearing stories of innocent people being pushed onto the subway tracks and other random crime. What did they tell you?

SARAH FEINBERG: They could not have been more clear. They said, we want the system to be safe from crime and harassment and safe from COVID. They now know it's safe from COVID. We need to make sure it's safe from crime and harrassment.

DARLA MILES: The MTA recently completed its quarterly survey, which will be presented at next week's board meeting. Of 33,000 people-- the riders the MTA is trying to reclaim, 87% say crime and harassment is either extremely important or very important.

SARAH FEINBERG: We're putting our own MTA police into the system more than we ever have before. I've hired uniformed security contractors. I'm putting cameras up in every station.

DARLA MILES: Even with these additional resources, 75% of riders responded they feel safer with a uniformed NYPD officer on the platforms, trains, and buses. But confidence can be restored, according to MTA president Sarah Feinberg, with three to six months of an increased NYPD presence, and she hopes the city agrees.

SARAH FEINBERG: All I'm asking is that we all pay attention to what this data is telling us, and act on it, and help the city come back.