Governor Cuomo announced Monday that he will be dispatching 500 NYPD officers to help combat fare evasion and other issues within the MTA public transportation system.
ABC reports this deployment will consist of 200 more NYPD officers, 200 redeployed MTA officers, and 100 Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority officers. The MTA said in a statement that it will also have 70 New York City Transit Eagle Team members.
The NYC Transit Eagle team will be deployed to locations with the highest number of assaults on MTA workers and stations with the highest ridership rates. They will also receive additional training.
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Gov. Cuomo said in a press release that "…the MTA is still plagued by problems of public safety, attacks against transit workers and persistent fare evasion—issues that have only worsened in recent years." Gov. Cuomo said he hopes by creating these "historical reforms," he can help fix the transit system.
Additionally, Gov. Cuomo said, "This new multi-pronged effort will improve safety on the system overall, protect workers from these incomprehensible assaults, and deter fare evasion by deploying 500 new uniformed officers on our subways and buses."
A press release from the MTA also highlighted that the lost revenue from fare evasion was as high as $225 million in 2018. Although this is rather recent, data emerged Monday showing that from March 2018 to March 2019, the totals reached $243 million.
Although fare evasion is a major concern for the transit agency, another problem plaguing the agency is attacks on its workers. Assaults reported by transit workers is up 15 percent in the past four years, according to the MTA. The public was reminded of this problem Monday as video emerged showing an irate man punching an MTA worker in the face.
To assist with solving these issues, the New York County District Attorney's office agreed to provide the MTA with $40 million over four years to support the anti-fare evasion action.
Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill said in a press release, "Our priority is to keep the nearly six million riders who use the subway each day safe, and to ensure quality-of-life on the trains and in stations…," he added, "These additional officers will help us continue to reduce crime past already record lows, work with our partners to solve problems, and provide increased visibility to deter theft-of-service - all while preventing crime and disorder from occurring in the first place."