NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – After more-than-gentle prodding by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the MTA has announced a new task force Wednesday to reduce the homeless on subways and in trains.

Riders are skeptical.

The madness of the homeless on the subways is well documented. Passengers endure plenty, like a man sleeping, tkaing up several seats, becoming enraged, taking out a hammer to threaten terrified passengers.

 

Finally the MTA is saying enough is enough, reported CBS2’s Marcia Kramer. They named a task force to solve the problem.

“I want to increase the safety for the riding public,” said MTA finance chair Larry Schwartz. “It’s homeless people sleeping in the subway stations. They’re actually on the trains asking for money, asking for food.”

Schwartz said the new task force should also add 300 MTA cops, but the job of coming up with a homeless plan made more complicated by a scathing new audit of the homeless outreach group paid by the MTA. It found the group – Bowery Residents Committee – not up to snuff.

“You announced today an ambitious plan to reduce the homeless problem on the subways. I wonder how you think you can do that when the main organization that’s supposed to help with outreach… has been found by an audit not to be doing its job?” asked Kramer.

“We need to take a look at the social service vendors we use,” MTA Chair Pat Foye said.

The MTA says it will be able to dramatically reduce the homeless on the subways by the end of the year but if you asked riders about it, well, color them cynical, Kramer reported.

“They haven’t had a good track record ’til now, so should I believe them in the future,” one rider told Kramer.

“They say a lot of things,” said another.

“I don’t think so,” said Merle Cumberbatch of Bushwick. “There’s too many homeless on the street and you need somewhere.”

“I’m very optimistic because Gov. Cuomo asked for this,” Schwartz said.

When the Big Kahuna in Albany wants something, well you know that train had better leave the station, Kramer reported.

The MTA Inspector General said Wednesday she would mount a full investigation of the Bowery Residents Committee, saying that the group appeared to be providing minimal outreach services, often turning away or ignoring the homeless.

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