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MTA To Resume 24-Hour Subway Service May 17, But Riders Have Growing Concern About Crime

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Many riders said it's been a long time coming. But like almost anything that requires coordination between the governor and the mayor, this plan is replete with infighting. CBS2's Ali Bauman reports.

Video Transcript

- Part of New York City's reopening, 24-hour subway service will resume on May 17th.

- Governor Cuomo announced the plan today. But what will it take to make sure that the system is safe and on the right track? CBS 2's Ali Bauman live on the Upper West Side with some answers, Ali.

ALI BAUMAN: Kristine and Dick, many writers we spoke to feel this decision has been a long time coming. But like anything that requires coordination between the governor and the mayor, this plan to restore subway service is replete with infighting.

Over a year ago, the governor reduced subway service for daily cleaning amid COVID. Transit is currently shut down from 2:00 AM to 4:00 AM. But come May 17th, service resumes around the clock.

CHRIS MEYERS: With cases going down, it's understandable that some of these measures would be pulled back. I just hope it doesn't come to disadvantage.

- Not my job. They come in at 4:00 or 5:00 AM. So I can finally push back into forth. But we all have to go back to normal.

ALI BAUMAN: Mask use will remain mandatory in the subway. The MTA says in April, ridership surpassed two million passengers per day, the highest since the pandemic began.

- They have to maintain the cleanliness, which is what's instilling confidence in people to get back on the subway system.

ALI BAUMAN: Felony assaults in transit are up 17% compared to this time last year. And a recent MTA survey found straphangers are more concerned about crime and harassment than cleanliness. I press the MTA chief of safety about this a few days ago.

PATRICK WARREN: That's why we're putting more security out there. That's why we're asking the NYPD for four more officers out there. That's why we're not hiring more officers ourselves. And that's why we're putting more CCTV cameras on.

ALI BAUMAN: The Transport Workers Union says restoring service is great but it's calling on the city to add more mental health and Homeless Services. Mayor de Blasio insists the city is already doing enough.

- A huge number of folks have come in out of the subways into shelter and stayed in shelter. It really comes down to a lot of outreach at the right places at the right times. And we'll certainly be ready for that.

ALI BAUMAN: But even though Governor Cuomo runs the rails, you probably won't see him riding them anytime soon.

- Have you been on the subway? Because I have and I was scared.

- Yeah.

- I'm not telling my child to ride the subway because I'm afraid for my child. So if you ignore the problem, you're not fooling anyone.

ALI BAUMAN: A spokesman for City Hall told us in a statement, quote, "the mayor is rooting for New York City's comeback. And I sincerely wish the governor was too." We asked the governor what was the last time he actually rode the subway, we're still waiting on his answer.

We're live on the Upper West Side, Ali Bauman CBS 2 News.

- All right, Ali. Thanks very much. For information on all of today's announcements and there are lots of them, including subway service capacity limits and curfew changes across the tri-state area, visit our website, www.cbsnewyork.com