New five-point plan to address safety concerns of New York subways

March 7, 2024
The plan outlined by Gov. Kathy Hochul calls for additional police presence, better coordination between law enforcement and district attorneys and laws to ban people convicted of assaulting transit workers and riders.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced a five-point plan to address safety on New York City subways that will utilize state resources, funding and enhance existing between state and municipal entities.

The governor’s plan includes an increase in uniformed personnel within the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City (NYC) Transit subway system, stronger options to ban individuals who assault riders, new cameras installed, increased coordination with law enforcement and District Attorneys and a state investment to increase the number of Subway Co-Response Outreach (SCOUT) teams.

Noting two recent incidents that left an MTA employee and a rider injured, the governor recognized that, while statistics show improvements in transit safety, public perception of safety on the transit system is another challenge.

“I’m here to take action because that’s what the situation requires. Rattling off statistics, saying things are getting better doesn’t make you feel better, especially when you’ve just heard about someone being slashed in the throat or thrown onto a subway track,” Gov. Hochul said. “There’s a psychological impact. People worry they could be next. Anxiety takes hold and riding the subway, which should just simply be part of your everyday life is filled with stress and trepidation and, if you make a living as a transit worker, that is compounded exponentially, that level of stress.”

Gov. Hochul’s plan has the support and commitment of the MTA, New York State Police, MTA Police Department (MTAPD), New York National Guard and several borough District Attorneys.  

“We can’t afford to not act. The transit system is too important to the city and region to allow the perception of safety, or lack of it, to scare people away,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.

Outline of the five-point plan

Gov. Hochul noted her long working relationship with NYC Mayor Eric Adams and explained the new plan was developed with the intent of filling in the gaps not addressed by past efforts. 

The New York Police Department conducts bag checks at heavily trafficked areas and Gov. Hochul will deploy 1,000 additional personnel to assist with these checks. The additional personnel will consist of 250 officers from MTAPD and New York State Police and 750 members of the New York National Guard.

The second point of the plan involves a state bill to allow people convicted of assaulting passengers to be banned from MTA’s system. In 2022, the state expanded protections of transit workers by allowing bans on people convicted of assaulting them and Gov. Hochul wants to expand these protections to riders.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.