Safety comes first.
On Thursday, June 6, members of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and elected officials gathered in front of the Steinway Street subway station in Astoria. They called on the MTA to restore station token booths and agents to provide safer rides for commuters.
“We are no longer going to accept the MTA taking necessary services away from our community,” said Michele Gilliam, member of the political action team for TWU Local 100. “This is a security issue, this is a safety issue.”
In 2010, more than 100 booths were removed across the city’s subway system, the Steinway Street station’s booth among them.
“When people need someone, when they need help, they need to be able to know that there is someone there to care for them,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “I want to make sure that Astorians are safe, all New Yorkers are safe.”
According to the union members, who collected signatures for a petition calling for the restoration of the booth, bringing the station agents back will provide riders with up-to-date information, help tourists and increase safety for subway riders.
According to the MTA, it has no plans of adding booths at this time, saying there is at least one manned booth at every station.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with the NYPD on strategies to reduce crime,” said a spokesperson, adding the MTA is “seeing dramatic results with an overall 20 percent reduction in crime from the previous year.”
The MTA also said it is in the process of installing Help Point Intercoms at over 100 stations within the next 18 months. Each subway station will be equipped with around 10 intercoms customers can use to ask for directions or report an emergency with the touch of a button.