WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES AUGUST 6, 2020 13
Keeping NYC’s transit system safe
BY SARAH E. FEINBERG
As the city continues its reopening,
our greatest and most
important obligation remains
the same — keeping our riders and our
employees safe. Whether that means
safe from a virus or safe from other
harm, safety remains New York City
Transit’s top priority. It’s a duty we take
If you are just now returning to the
transit system, you should know that
there are some new amenities and safeguards
in place to help keep you safe.
We are installing protective barriers
on buses between riders and operators,
and we are off ering free masks on buses
via our new, homemade mask dispensers.
We also provide free masks and
free hand sanitizer, in every subway
station, along with new signs and fl oor
decals reminding riders to social distance.
We are also continuing to clean
and disinfect our system 24/7.
But the most important element of
keeping yourself safe in the transit
system is to be vigilant about wearing
a mask. We know that wearing a mask
or face covering is the best thing we
can do to protect ourselves and others
from illness, and it’s also the law. I am
so proud that the vast majority of our
customers — consistently hovering in
the mid-90 percents — are complying
with the mandate.
Keeping you safe isn’t just about
cleaning, disinfecting and providing
masks though — it’s also about preventing
and deterring crime in our
It’s important for us to be honest and
transparent about what we are seeing
— in recent weeks we’ve seen an unsettling
increase in assaults on both MTA
employees and riders. This is intolerable.
One incident would be too many;
that there have been multiple attacks
Some of our bus operators have been
targeted for asking passengers to wear
a mask. Our conductors are sometimes
attacked and spat upon. Just this past
week, a pregnant MTA cleaner was attacked
and beaten. These brave employees
are heroes helping to move our city
during an unprecedented crisis, and
they deserve so much better than this.
Policing in America, and in New
York, is going through an important
self-examination — as it should — but
we cannot lose sight of the importance
of an engaged, respectful law enforcement
presence in our system to prevent
and deter crimes like these from even
To be clear, we have a safe transit
system— and one that New Yorkers
can be proud of. But we have to keep
it that way, and the reality is that even
one violent incident is too many.
For the future of the city, it is critical
that people continue to come back
to mass transit. Most days last week,
we served more than 2.4 million customers
on the subway and buses. I am
proud of those numbers, and proud
that New Yorkers are starting to come
back to Transit.
But if those numbers are ever going
to increase to pre-pandemic levels, we
must be able to promise New Yorkers a
safe system. Anything less is unacceptable
— to our riders and to us.
Sarah Feinberg is interim president
of MTA New York City Transit.
PLAYING BY THE WHITESTONE BRIDGE
PHOTO SUBMITTED BY JAVIER FOJO
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