NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While there’s so much focus on having people stay off the streets during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s another big problem happening underground.

Homeless people are taking over the subway.

The city says it’s taking action, but concerned Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees are demanding more, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Sunday.


A video of a No. 2 train shows the city’s subway system looking like a homeless shelter. It was taken early Sunday morning by an MTA employee, and it shows car after car of people sprawled out sleeping.

Train operator Yann Hicks said he is fuming about having to work in these unsanitary conditions during a pandemic.

“The virus is going back and forth, back and forth in dirty trains with people, homeless, and everybody with no masks on. There’s a problem here,” Hicks said.

PHOTO GALLERY: A Look Inside NYC’s Viral ‘Warzone’

Hicks said the trains have been taken over by the homeless. Most aren’t wearing masks and many have no access to hand sanitizer or soap. He said he’s worried the virus could be festering without proper cleaning.

“You look at the videos of Times Square. It’s empty outside. You look at the videos all over the place, it’s empty because everybody’s underground. There’s a whole city of people underground,” Hicks said.

MORECoronavirus Update: City To Put 6,000 Homeless, Some COVID-19 Positive, Into Local Hotels

The MTA told CBS2 it has taken aggressive action to address the crisis over the last three weeks, making more than 1,700 contacts with homeless in the subway and convincing nearly 100 to accept services.

“The City of New York, which is legally obligated to house all individuals who are experiencing homelessness, needs to take bold steps to provide a safe haven for our most vulnerable New Yorkers during this unprecedented public health crisis so the subway is not used as a shelter of last resort,” MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan said in a statement.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On Saturday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the opening of 230 new safe haven beds to house the homeless.

“These are the kinds of beds and facilities that help us get people immediately off the street, who have reached that point where they’re ready to finally come in and accept shelter and change their lives and, hopefully, never, ever go back to the streets,” de Blasio said.

But employees say the videos prove conditions are still disastrous. They are pushing for more drastic action.

“I think they should shut down at least from like midnight to 5 and clean up the trains, clean up the areas where the employees are. Get it all fresh and ready for the next day of essential workers,” Hicks said.

The MTA said as of now trains are being disinfected every day with the full fleet completed every 72 hours.

Comments (44)
  1. Truth says:

    Shoot the garbage a be done with it. Sometimes it’s better to just take out the trash.

  2. Roger says:

    Here’s an idea…Stop voting for people who your union endorses.

  3. gwbnyc says:

    well I guess de blasio is just going to walk his big progressive can down there and GET THEM OUT OF THE SUBWAY.

  4. Here in Boston too. Trains and buses.
    In fact, half of the 24 infected MBTA employees are bus drivers.

  5. TooLateNow says:

    There was a movie made about Underground dwellers, “CHUD (Cannibalistic Human Underground Dwellers)” No food, no money, no hope!

  6. KlatuBerataNikto says:

    NY citys mismanagement and horrid lack of facilities and programs for the homeless are a national symbol of failure. San Francisco and Los Angeles are the same. That said, NY was one of the last places to close schools in the region, and initially decided against closing shops and restaurants all together, instead opting to only reduce occupancy by 50%. This made the coronavirus situation in NY far worse than other nearby states, beyond the homeless and population density. Again, mismanagement is the word of the day.

  7. Phil Kurtz says:

    Subways will never be the same. No longer for transportation. Now for filling with poop.

  8. Bill Jefferson says:

    Well done, democRats! Nice going, as usual for you.

  9. Danny S. says:

    I did not see “car after car of people sprawled out sleeping” in that video of the #2 train. I saw people sitting in their seats. Their heads were down, but they were sitting, not lying down. (For non NYers: the 2 train has blue seats, the pictures showing orange seats are a different train.) Where do they expect the homeless to go? If they don’t have homes, they can’t “stay at home”, can they?

    1. John Gray says:

      Uh…. a shelter?

    2. Peter says:

      They were smelling there. Lol

  10. rhms1776 says:

    What I learned here, being homeless makes you very sleepy.

  11. djm says:

    is this a joke someone seriously said that they had 100 people leave for a shelter in 3 weeks

  12. Steve M says:

    NYC is the most corrupt city in the US where the politicians are willing to pump out fake numbers and fake narrative and the entire corporate media is only reporting on NYC. It’s bad in NYC, but NYC is only a small part of the US. NYC is being used by the media to scare the entire country.

    1. Peter says:

      Yea, have you seen Penn Station in peak hours? It’s full of homeless. NYC is home for a countless number of homeless, not only MTA.

      1. KlatuBerataNikto says:

        NY citys mismanagement and horrid lack of facilities and programs for the homeless are a national symbol of failure. San Francisco and Los Angeles are the same. That said, NY was one of the last places to close schools in the region and initially decided against closing shops and restaurants all together, instead opting to only reduce occupancy by 50%. This made the coronavirus situation in NY far worse than other nearby states, beyond the homeless and population density. Again, mismanagement is the word of the day.

  13. nearboston says:

    There are just fewer Non-Homeless riding so the usual assortment of bums and winos just sticks out.

  14. DOM RADOM says:

    It’s the same sleazy politicians the criticize the presidents handling of the situation who were still playing the race card when he cut off travel from China. PICK ONE

  15. A J says:

    Trump Wants Everyone to Forget He Ignored Repeated Coronavirus Warnings: TRUMP REPRESENT THE LOWEST FORUMS OF HUMANITY! Trump really is the most incompetent President this nation has ever had known. TRUMP.. UNSTABLE NON-GENIUS NARCISSIST KNOWN LIAR! … “COME NOVEMBER AMERICANS WILL REMEMBER!”…VOTE!..

    1. Dom Radom says:

      AJ, while placing blame squarely on the president, please do not let memory fail to serve you. The mayor and health commissioner both urged the people of NEW YORK to continue about their lives and go to parades ect.

    2. CLH says:

      Who fought against restricting travel into the USA?
      Who cried racism when POTUS tried to restrict entry from those infected areas?
      Who delayed relief bills so they could insert their PORK?

      1. Jonathan Laurent says:

        Everytime some criticizes the president’s response to Covid-19, you Trump supporters say the same thing. “Trump imposed the China travel ban restrictions.” But those measures were not enough. Over 40,000 people traveled from China to the U.S after the travel ban. Furthermore, Trump issued the restrictions a week after the first case of Covid-19 reached the states. Furthermore Trump should have ordered the mass productions of mask and ventilators since January. He should have declared a national shutdown in February. He should have ordered and set up the ability of testing in January. He did none of those things. As a result, the virus arrived in this country and spread fast.

        1. bill w says:

          Jonathan Laurent: so let me get this straight. Trump closing down travel to the US was a bad thing? People in congress and mayors and governors saying that it was alright for people to gather in big groups and keep doing what they normally did and not to worry about covid 19 because it wouldn’t amount to anything. That is alright with you. Not to mention first the CDC was saying that masks wouldn’t help one bit then they were saying oh no masks will keep you from getting the virus then no masks will keep others from getting the virus from you ” If you have it”. The CDC and everyone in it doesn’t have a clue one way or the other how to fight this virus. There will not be a vaccine for it ever. It will be just like SARS it will run its cycle and then go away. But people are so damn stupid anymore that they can’t even think for themselves they have to be told what to think. As to people blasting Trump about hydroxychloroquine. It is funny that other countries were using it and others have started using it after Trump said something about it and guess what, IT WORKS. They have been dropping their cases with the use of it. But since that wasn’t reported on any of your liberal media outlets you don’t believe it. New flash. You stupid libs aren’t even smart enough to understand that your media is doing nothing but lying to you about everything Trump says or does. If Trump was so stupid than explain to me how it is that he is the one that put the US in the best position it has been in in a long time. Lowest unemployment for everyone, trade deals that work more for the US rather than other countries, lowest number of people on welfare, and the list goes on and on. But according to what your media tells you Trump is bad so you need to hate him. Get a thought and figure it out for yourself for once instead of someone telling you how to think. By the way CNN just announced that Trump came out this morning and told them that Breakfast was the most important meal of the day and that breathing air was really good for you. But they are saying that both comments are lies. So I guess you will be jumping on that bandwagon now

    3. DaJa Dags says:

      A common sense viewer will eliminate a comment like yours as from an emotional and mentally disturbed person; and you really are and relatives see you as a loon.

  16. youknowwho says:

    The main issue with NYC are twofold: population density and it’s still cool/cold outside. These two are variables which exacerbate transmission. The main issues with coronavirus are the media wants Armageddon so they can win Pulitzers, the government wants more control, the citizens want to be taken care of, and therein lies the perfect recipe for an authoritarian state. The virus is to be taken seriously, but as an analog, someone busted for an ounce of pot should not be sentenced to death. It’s not a global killer.

    Coronavirus is being painted as a binary proposition: if you have it, you’ll die, OR if you don’t, you’ll give it to someone else and they’ll die. The focus is on mortality, not big picture. In L.A. — not near as dense as NYC — the mortality rate is only .026%. Let that sink in. As long as the pandemic takes center stage, we’re led to believe it’s a global killer and we’re all gonna die. In determining exit strategies, any stakeholders in the decision-making process regarding course of action, want their 15 minutes of chest-thumping fame.

    And finally, follow the money. Someone, somewhere, somehow, is gonna make out like a big dog and the rest of us will pay the price. How would all of you feel about being force-vaccinated and oh, btw, we’re also injecting you with a bot which wirelessly transmits you’ve been vaccinated and uh, we can also track you. Sound like science fiction? It’s all about compliance for the masses. Just ask Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci.

    Take coronavirus seriously and use it as an excuse to take start taking care of your mind, body and soul, but realize, we’re all being lied to and we’re not the end game beneficiaries. Besides, how bad can it be if politicians are inserting all sorts of unrelated monetary stimulus into coronavirus bailouts? Let that sink in too.

    1. Kevin C. says:

      There are 9420 confirmed cases and 320 deaths in LA as of today ( – April 13th). That’s a 3.4% mortality rate – no where near 0.026%. Of course, there are many many more people infected that weren’t confirmed because they had little or no symptoms (and didn’t die) which means it’s much less lethal in reality. But I am still very curious how you ended up with .026%…

  17. Chris Richards says:

    Instead of telling covid-19 positive patients to “isolate at home” and then get pulled out in a body bag, they should be doing anti-viral therapy immediately to lower the death count.

  18. Jerry Brandt says:

    There is not a country in the world that does not have homeless people. However in the US we can find ways to reduce the amount of homeless. New York causes it’s own homeless crisis by making it hard to survive with tax after tax. Combine this with allowing illegal immigrants in the city and you have a recipe for disaster.

  19. Steven Newsom says:

    That isn’t a vector for disease spread at all, if the city is going to let this happen why are they locking everything else down.

  20. says:

    Compassion would be housing them in one of the shuttered climate controlled sports complex or convention centers. Access/egress are easily controlled, food preparation and sanitary facilities are designed to accomodate thousands. Why are they wandering while everyone is isolating?

    1. youknowwho says:

      No, compassion would be for all the big-mouthed liberals to open their hearts, doors and wallets and take the homeless in. Sick? They’re people too. Diseased? They’re people too. Criminal? They’re people too. Drug addicted? They’re people too. Violent? They’re people too. Instead of pointing the finger at everyone else and labeling them because they don’t agree with your fantasy view of the world, do something! But you won’t. All show and no go.

  21. Frank says:

    In Liberal cities this is a problem. Import more illegals, allow them all the low cost housing and those Americans that were barely hanging on end up sleeping on the street. Elect a Communist, you get a communist little city.

  22. Thomas Taylor says:

    Is it so hard for DeBlasio to provide tiny-apartment homes to the homeless? Since he already loves importing third-worlders and giving them apartments, first dibs

    1. CLH says:

      Because he cares more about illegals than he does the citizens of NYC. He should be taking take of the homeless (especially veterans) first.

  23. The Voice of New York Harbor says:

    This all falls on Mayor Deblasio. He gave his wife’s “Thrive NYC” program a billion dollars. That’s a Billion with a B. The streets and subways are a complete disaster. Garbage and homeless people laying everywhere. I’m so glad they were able to get 100 people off the streets in the last 3 weeks (sarcasm). They will never be able to guard against a virus like this in the future if people are allowed to camp out on the streets and the subways. Most, if not all, of these people are mentally ill and/or addicted to drugs. They are beyond the point of making rational decisions for themselves. The city needs to take these people and give them the help they deserve. I am sure a billion dollars is a good starting point.

  24. Harsh Truth says:

    Capitalism is an abject failure. If you care about human beings at any rate. The wealthiest city in the wealthiest nation in the world should not have a homeless epidemic. No other empire in world history had that issue.

    1. Jim1937 says:

      If the US and capitalism is so bad and inhumane feel free to move to Venezuela, I’ll help pay your way!

    2. kentuckian says:

      “No other empire in world history had that issue.” What an abjectly ignorant statement.

    3. Rosemaryflower says:

      Liberals are not so great at practicing what they preach. Look here, where are these limo-liberals? and why aren’t they providing shelter in their own homes???

    4. Bad Penguin says:

      You obviously have never traveled. I have been around the world and every major city has hoards of beggars. Homeless all gather in big cities because that’s were the handouts are. I visited a few countries of the old USSR a few years after it fell. The average middle class citizen lived worse than people on welfare do here.

    5. Gary Hoffman says:

      The wealthiest city? NYC is nearly broke, and it’s going to get a lot worse with tax revenues sinking.

      The wealthiest country? Don’t look now, but the USA is $24 Trillion in debt. We’re not the wealthiest country, we’re the brokest country.

  25. Symore Butts says:

    why are they always dropping trash and sleeping?

    1. John Seymore says:

      There not sleeping, there passed out. 99% are probably high as a quite on heroin.

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