Greetings, I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.
Crime underground is first and foremost on riders’ minds. The horrific stabbings over the weekend were the culmination of months of attacks that are putting us all on edge. We support the call for more police, for people to be able to call 311 from the system, more cameras underground, harsher penalties for crimes against transit workers, and the concurrent need for more mental health services and housing. For riders to come back to transit, they must feel and be safe. We need to hear from the Transit Police on a regular basis about crime and their tactics: police should be deployed based on data and need. That’s just one critical thing that’s been lost in the year without Committee meetings. It’s time to bring them back, along with same day testimony.
It’s also time for the Governor to stop raiding MTA funds. We’ll continue to be by your side as you advocate for much-needed federal aid. But it’s hard to make the case when so-called dedicated funds are being picked from the lockbox, as in the Executive budget. It’s hard to beseech the feds to move quickly on congestion pricing when its component parts, ie internet sales tax, are being redirected to the state’s general fund. The state’s raid on MTA funds will deprive riders of services and improvements and may hasten fare hikes. MTA does not stand for ATM. Riders deserve better.
There was some good news: we’re two giant steps closer to overnight subway service with the restoration of service between 1 and 2, and 4 and 5 am. We’ve been calling for this for months to allow travel during the most heavily used overnight hours. The closures have been a real burden on essential workers and more recently, people going to overnight vaccine appointments. The partial reopening will certainly help, though not solve the problem that full reopening ultimately will. We’d still like to see metrics and milestones be used to determine if cleaning is required to the same extent. 24/7 subway service is an integral part of restarting the economy and getting on with life. But this is a sign of hope and a great start.