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Despite 70 percent fewer subway riders during the coronavirus pandemic, assaults on transit workers climbed last year, according to MTA data.
Fifty-eight New York City Transit workers reported being physically attacked between the beginning of July through the end of 2020, according to the agency. Hundreds more were harassed or spat on.
During the same time last year, when about 4 million more people were riding the subways on an average weekday, the agency recorded five fewer assaults.
The agency and transit workers union are calling on the NYPD to put more cops in subways and on buses.
“With all due respect, many [transit workers] do not believe the NYPD has their back,” Tony Utano, president of TWU Local 100, wrote earlier this month in a letter to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “We desperately need a greater police presence and increased safety that can be demonstrated through a reduction in the shockingly high number of attacks.”
NYPD Transit Bureau Chief Kathleen O’Reilly said in November that 200 more officers would be deployed to the subway system, including restoring the 120 who were reassigned to patrol the George Floyd protests this summer.
The union met Thursday with NYPD brass, including Chief of Department Terrence Monahan and O’Reilly.
O’Reilly “said she expects the size of her division to grow in the near future,” a TWU spokesman posted to members on Friday. “There are two classes of recruits in the NYPD Academy, and O’Reilly has been assured a ‘significant number’ will be assigned to the Transit Bureau.”
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