NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Big Apple has taken another step in its comeback.
The subway system is about to resume 24-hour service.
But concerns remain about safety following a string of violent crimes, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Sunday.
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says trains are still safe, but admits they could be safer. Early Monday morning will mark the first time in more than a year trains will keep rolling through 2 a.m.
The MTA says service is back to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels and ridership is the highest its been since March of last year.
“I’m definitely excited at the prospect of being able to take the subway all night long because it has definitely been a hassle trying to take buses,” said Dani Duffy of Chelsea.
“You can really feel the sense of optimism,” MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said.
Optimism was communicated loud and clear from officials outside the Columbus Circle subway station about service resuming 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Starting Monday at 2 a.m., trains will keep going. Previously, they had been closed for disinfecting from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., and the agency promised they’ll still stay just as clean.
“We’ve shifted the resources … We’ve taken folks out of yards that used to clean and now we’re focusing them on the terminals,” NYC Transit Executive VP of Subways Demetrius Crichlow said.
“So, we’re going to be asking customers to get off to allow the cleaning to occur. If people are on the car, we’re not going to clean around them. We’re not going to ask transit workers to do that. But we’ve become far more efficient at disinfecting and cleaning over the way, over the months of the pandemic and we’re going to continue that disinfecting regime,” Foye said.
But crime is another issue. On Saturday, a good Samaritan was bitten and choked on the D train at Columbus Circle, following a day of a series of attacks on the subway where three teens were arrested and charged.
In a perfect world, the agency said it would have 600 to 800 officers patrolling the system.
“And the reason for that is we don’t have perfect visibility into the number of officers that are being surged on a daily basis. But that’s our ask, in addition to a substantial increase in mental health resources,” Foye said.
The MTA Police have added an additional 100 officers on a daily basis and says the subway is safe and is launching a campaign with the hashtag #takethetrain and #takethebus.
The MTA is still asking city hall for additional safety resources and masks must be worn on trains.
A spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio responded, saying, “The NYPD has the largest transit force in history. The MTA is clearly trying to score political points.”
An NYPD representative told CBS2, “The New York City Police Department, on a day-to-day basis, remains flexible and ever prepared to reallocate its personnel to respond to any upticks in crime. In February, the Department deployed over 500 officers to keep New Yorkers safe in our trains, stations, and platforms. They are working hand in hand with the thousands of Transit officers constantly assigned to patrol the subway system as part of the NYPD Transit Bureau’s daily mission to address crime conditions and keep riders safe. ”