The MTA’s plan to cut station booth positions is the “opposite” of “common sense” amid a spike in subway crime, the head of the agency’s largest union said Thursday.
“Nobody feels safe in the subway — not the riders, and certainly not the workers,” TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano testified at the MTA’s February board meeting.
“So why is the MTA still pushing forward with a plan to temporarily shut our subway station booths, leaving them unstaffed for periods of time during the morning, evening and overnight shifts? How can that possibly help the situation?”
Utano was speaking out against a transit authority proposal to close 20 station booths and eliminate 185 “lunch relief” station attendant roles assigned to cover booths while regular attendants take 30-minute lunch breaks.
The plan must be put before public hearings in order to be enacted, a judge ruled last month after TWU sued to delay the cuts.
Utano slammed the MTA as hypocritical given its simultaneous calls to the city for more cops on the subways. He cited NYPD stats that showed robberies, rape and murders all up last year compared to 2019.
“On one hand, you’re demanding the NYPD put more uniformed police officers in the subway. We agree with that,” he said. “But on the other hand, you’re looking to take away uniformed station agents who provide extra eyes and ears for law enforcement.”
“This is opposite of common sense. Reducing station staffing would be a bad idea during the best of times. It’s a absolutely horrendous idea today.”