Letter: Security and safety should be higher priorities than system expansion for MTA riders

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

To the Editor,

The horrible shooting on an NYC Transit subway train in Brooklyn revealed a fatal flaw in the MTA capital and maintenance programs. How long were the Brooklyn 36th Street/4th Avenue subway station security cameras not working?

NYC Transit will never return to 5 million-plus pre COVID-19 riders until customers feel safe and secure. One solution is to assign a transit police officer to ride each train and patrol all stations. Security cameras must also be installed and in working condition for all 6,400 trains, 5,500 buses and 473 stations. Adequate funding must be budgeted to insure all of these physical assets are in place, inspected and maintained to insure they are operational 24/7.

These are a higher priority than initiating new system expansion projects such as the $6.9 billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 and $2.6 billion Metro-North Bronx East Penn Station. Suspend any system expansion planning feasibility studies to fund Gov. Hochul’s proposed multi-billion Interborough, Brooklyn to Queens new subway and others. NYC Transit, bus, subway, MTA bus and Staten Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North must have reached a state of good repair for existing fleet, stations, elevators, escalators, signals, interlockings, track, power, yards and shops, along with all safety and security assets. This should also include insuring a majority of subway and commuter rail stations are in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Maintenance programs for all operating agencies’ assets must be fully funded, staffed and completed on time to ensure riders safe uninterrupted reliable service.

Larry Penner

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