By Molly Sugarman
Safety on the subway is getting better, Andrew Albert reported to the Community Board 7 Transportation Committee on Tuesday, March 8. While unpleasant incidents still occur, they are less frequent, he said. Albert is co-chair of the committee.
The police, he said, are going to enforce the code of conduct—no loud music, no selling, no feet on the seats, no living on the trains. The code of conduct will also be displayed on the electronic screens in stations so everyone knows what is expected of them.
Key to this enforcement are the 30 interagency collaborative teams that will meet trains at their last stop and talk to any homeless people still on board. The teams’ goal will be to get people to proper shelter and to the services they need. They will even physically escort them to shelters.
Unanswered as yet is the question asked by Committee Member Jay Adolf: What happens if people refuse to go into a shelter? As yet, Albert said, he doesn’t know.
Overall, subway ridership is up—3.1 million—beating the post-Covid projections, Albert said. But to entice riders, the MTA is looking at deals for high-volume riders. Some of the ideas being discussed are:
- After 12 rides in a week, ensuing rides are free until the next Sunday.
- A 20-trip commuter ticket for Metro North will save 10% over individual fares.
- Vending machines for OMNY cards will not be available until October so purchases must be made at a chain drugstore until then. That only applies if you want the actual card. If you use your phone, you can recharge it online.
- Eventually, OMNY will take over and the Metrocard will go the way of the token, but its life has been extended to 2024.
- Discussions are underway for cards that will be good on commuter trains, subways, and buses.
- Reduced fare cards are not yet available with OMNY but should be this year.
To fund accessibility at stations, developments near subway stations will be asked to provide the money needed. The 5th Avenue and 53rd Street station will become accessible, thanks to this program. It will be funded by the developer of a building on 57th.
Protecting pedestrians by elevating crosswalks four inches will be discussed at the next Transportation Committee meeting, at the request of Committee Member Rich Robbins. The project would raise the white stripes, forcing cars to slow down and making pedestrians more visible.
Where elevated crosswalks are not possible, such as along bus routes, Robbins wants to put in reflectors, “cats eyes,” that will remind drivers to slow down.
Committee members want to hear from an expert about restrictions on locating these safety measures. Department of Transportation representative Colleen Chattergoon, suggested that the committee select five intersections for a feasibility study.