Up in the air
The city had been planning on moving
homeless New Yorkers who were
temporarily put into hotels during
the pandemic back into shelters.
However, The Department of Homeless
Services halted the push to move the 8,000
homeless New Yorkers from hotels into shelters,
due in part to pending litigation from the
Legal Aid Society. Advocates had fi led a motion
accusing City Hall of violating their rights
just hours before the relocation; a judge agreed
on July 13 to stop the relocation temporarily.
The entire dilemma has been an issue
for the past year. Homeless New Yorkers
were rightly placed into hotels as a means
to keep them safe and help stop the spread
of COVID-19, which had been particularly
raging rampant in shelters.
Now, with vaccines on the rise and COVID
19 cases remaining low, the de Blasio
Administration and others are clamoring for
homeless individuals to be relocated back
Residents of neighboring hotels housing
the homeless have been frustrated for some
time. Many were opposed to them moving in
initially and are glad that the city is moving
them back to shelters.
While people are entitled to feel how they
want to feel, the hotels have nonetheless
been life changing for many.
Living at these hotels has given many of
the homeless a second chance. Some have
been able to kick drug addictions to the side
and fi nd jobs. Just having a private room and
bathroom has done wonders for them. The
way to fi x the homeless crisis in the city is
to give the homeless a chance. These hotels
have done just that.
Still, that was only a temporary fi x to a
long-term problem facing the city. Bouncing
homeless individuals between hotels and
shelters isn’t the answer, either.
The city must advance a more holistic
approach toward homelessness beyond
the meager efforts of the de Blasio
The next mayor must ensure that homeless
individuals are able to rebuild their
lives and fi nd permanent housing in regular
apartments across the city. The mayor should
also double down on efforts to expand supportive
housing for homeless individuals in
need of even greater care, such as those with
physical or mental health issues.
For now, it seems the fate of the homeless
individuals in the hotels is up in the air — at
least for a few more months.
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Welcome bus riders to
faster trips by turning
on all-door boarding
The OMNY fare payment system is coming to bus lines in Manhattan.
BY SAMUEL SANTAELLA
As New York recovers, Governor
Cuomo and MTA leaders must do
more to restore transit ridership
lost to quarantine. OMNY readers are now
in place across New York’s bus system. The
MTA should start up all-door boarding on
every bus to immediately speed up service
throughout the city.
After committing to turning on systemwide
all-door boarding this year, the
MTA says it may wait until MetroCards
are retired in 2023. Waiting will not help
riders nor the MTA at all. There’s no reason
OMNY is MTA’s new fare payment
system intended to replace MetroCard,
increasing effi ciency and ease for riders.
Implementation is planned in several
phases. In the end, riders will tap-and-go
with a bank card, smartphone, or dedicated
OMNY card coming soon.
When they’re turned on, OMNY readers
will let riders pay at both the front and back
bus doors. It’s Select Bus Service, except it
works on all buses citywide, and getting
a ticket before boarding isn’t required.
Fares would be enforced similarly, by
having inspectors check whatever media
riders pay with. Tap-and-go is much faster
than dipping a MetroCard and waiting two
seconds — one-by-one-by-one…
The current boarding method slows
buses down. On busy routes, buses spend
20 percent of the time at stops without
moving! All-door boarding can cut this
time nearly in half, make service more
reliable, and prevent large gaps between
buses, which helps fulfi ll another of MTA’s
goals to improve bus service.
As a long-time bus rider, all-door
boarding would help me out a lot. I live in
southeast Queens, which means I get on
the bus at the fi rst stop in Jamaica along
with hundreds of others. Every bus line is
the same; precious minutes stuck in line (or
sitting in the bus not moving if you’re fi rst)
until everyone gets on.
Occasionally I’ll ride one of the long,
bendy buses common in the Bronx. These
buses hold more than 100 people, so major
stops are even more time-consuming than
with regular city buses. I remember one
ride on the Bx9 where tons of people got
on and off at every stop. Every two or three
blocks was another lengthy delay (in addition
to the red lights).
Another problem that comes with onedoor
boarding is that by getting on all the
way at one end of the bus, riders don’t disperse.
The front of the bus is more densely
packed (and harder to sift through) than
the back. Frustrated drivers sometimes
nag their passengers to move to the back,
threaten to not move the bus at all until
they do, or simply leave riders behind even
if there’s room in the back.
Hundreds of thousands of essential workers
relied on buses throughout quarantine.
Over a million people take the bus every day
now. OMNY readers are already installed
on every door of every single bus, even the
oldest ones. So why should the MTA wait
two more years to better serve riders?
If the governor wants to fully recover
ridership and regain public trust, the MTA
should fl ick the switch to let us board and
Santaella is a member of the Riders Alliance,
New York’s grassroots movement of
public transit riders.
8 July 15, 2021 Schneps Media