An MTA motorman faces a 30-day suspension for drawing attention to the growing subway homeless problem on social media, he told The Post on Monday.
Yann Hicks, 55, began tweeting out photos of homeless people on trains in earnest at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as dozens of MTA employees lost their lives to the deadly virus.
The images made it into The Post and other news outlets — and helped pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo and transit officials to institute nightly subway closures so cops could clear stations of homeless residents.
But in October, MTA management informed Hicks he would be suspended for 30 days for “posting adverse criticism of the NYPD and [New York City Transit] to Twitter while not on an authorized break and not in a Crew Room,” according to disciplinary documents he shared with The Post.
“I’m just a whistleblower. When somebody sees something and says something, they should do something instead of coming after the messengers,” said Hicks, whose still-pending suspension was first reported by The City.
“I’m just bringing attention to it, and I need proof. When I clock in [to work] it doesn’t mean I clocked out as a citizen.”
Hicks said his concerns grew after the fatal fire that killed fellow motorman Garrett Goble in March.
Cops said the blaze may have originated with a badly burned shopping cart found in the wreckage. The culprit was never arrested.
“I don’t have any problem with the homeless. I just want them to wear a mask, and I don’t want them to have the shopping cart,” Hicks said.
“The train is not a destination, the train is for bringing people to their destination.”
The suspension also cited Hicks for posting on social media while on the job and not reporting the rules violations he observed to central command — something he said would put him “on the radio all day.”
“This train operator used his cell phone in clear violation of rules against being distracted while on duty and failed to inform supervisors of the allegedly unsafe conditions reported on his social media accounts,” an MTA spokesman said in a statement
“It is critical that operating employees follow safety regulations, period.”
The 15-year MTA veteran denied the allegations.
“I’m a train operator. When I’m on duty, I’m operating the train. I don’t post things when I’m driving the train,” he said.
“I should be able to use my free speech.”
Transport Workers Union vice president Eric Loegel said Hicks’ social media posts “bring attention to workplaces safety issued that need to be better addressed” by the NYPD.
“We think this disciplinary action is unwarranted. It’s an overreach,” Loegel said in a statement.
“We have Brother Hicks’ back and we’re actively fighting the charges.”
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