NYC officials have been announcing plans towards subway safety in NYC, from bringing together the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in a collaborative effort to support individuals in need, to announcing the installation of subway platform doors by 2024.
And their most recent effort could ban “dangerous people” from NYC subways and buses.
As it stands currently under a law implemented in 2020, sentencing judges have the authority to ban individuals from the MTA system if convicted of unlawful sexual conduct against passengers, customers, or MTA employees, or assault against MTA employees, according to a memo.
The new proposal would build onto this law to include individuals who assault other passengers, customers, or MTA contractors.
The proposal would also provide judges clarity to impose such bans as an element of sentencing.
“These provisions would encourage a return to ridership by reducing the likelihood of encountering dangerous individuals and deterring violent behavior in the MTA system,” reads the memo.
According to bill boosters, the proposed changes could help lure New Yorkers back to public transit after pandemic-induced ridership drops, which is hovering at nearly 60% of 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.
Just this past December Governor Kathy Hochul announced that subway ridership surpassed 1 billion customers, making it the first time since 2019.
MTA CEO Janno Lieber is urging state leaders to support expanding the law and apply more aggressively after an apparent lack of action on the 2020 law, according to the NY Post.
“There’s no reason why, if someone is victimized in the system, they should have to walk in two months later and see the person who attacked them or harmed them in the system. I want to see more banning,” stated Lieber.
Following negotiations between Hochul, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, if approved in the state budget, which is due April 1, the bill would take effect immediately.