The MTA said it will nearly double its number of transit officers to help improve the quality of life in the subway.
The 500 new officers will be joining the force of 783, according to NBC, and will help with everything from dealing with crime, littering, loitering, fare evasion, and assaults on MTA officer and passengers.
MTA Communications Director Tim Minton shared in a statement with Metro that said, “MTA Police are here to assist in problem areas that the public has made clear demand heightened attention… homelessness, and fare evasion. We work day in and day out in collaboration with the NYPD.”
Additionally, he said that “Safety and security will always be our number 1 priority.”
When it comes to the next steps, Minton said, “Safety and security of our riders has, and always will be, our number one priority. The subways are experiencing the highest on-time performance in more than six years and every other major key performance indicator shows year-over-year improvement. We are moving forward on multiple fronts to ensure a better environment for our customers.”
Minton explained to Metro that the hiring process has begun but new hires will continue to take place in 2020. When it comes to cost, Minton told Metro that “We are costing out the program, which will be incorporated in the annual budget process later this year. $41 Million from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Forfeiture Fund, disbursed to the MTA over four years, 2019 through 2022, will contribute toward the cost of the new officers. Some of the cost of new officers will also be offset by recouping significant funds currently being lost to fare evasion. The new officers will therefore, in effect, partially pay for themselves.”
These officers will be spread out throughout all five boroughs.