New York City subway riders say staying safe on the transit system remains their No. 1 concern, according to a new MTA survey.
“Personal safety and security” ranked at the top of the list of “what needs to be improved” to increase rider satisfaction, the agency’s customer survey from June found – followed in order by “homeless people”, “people behaving erratically”, “waiting times” and “cleanliness. “
Almost one in five respondents, meanwhile, said they would ride the subway more often if there were “fewer people behaving erratically,”[ads1]; the survey found.
Between 10% and 15% of respondents cited more police officers, shorter waiting times and their personal safety as potential incentives to cycle more often.
The concerns about safety come after several high-profile subway crimes, including an April 12 mass shooting and the accidental killing of a Goldman Sachs worker who was gunned down as he went to brunch in May.
But overall transit crime fell in June, according to NYPD statistics.
The department said 162 crimes were reported underground in June, a steep dip from the 219 seen in May. Murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary and serious theft have fallen month by month.
Both figures reflect steep jumps compared to last year, even when adjusted for this year’s higher ridership – June 2022 averaged 1.84 crimes per million, a 5.1% increase compared to the average of 1.75 recorded in June 2021 .
Around 23 million more people rode the subway last month compared to June 2021.
“Obviously somebody is very concerned,” said MTA board representative Andrew Albert, “I also see very crowded trains at different times of the day. I think people are using the system when they choose to get off.”
Weekend subway wait times and buses in general remain a major concern for cyclists, regular or otherwise, Albert said. Bus riders cited wait times, crowding, travel time, reliability and fare evasion as their top concerns, the MTA said.
“Some twenty minutes between trains in the middle of a weekend is just unacceptable,” said Albert. “I can’t tell you how many tourists I’ve helped in the last couple of days because it’s so confusing for them.”
The MTA said the survey is drawn from a “statistically valid” sample of about 1,000 self-selected respondents.
Spokesman Aaron Donovan praised the NYPD for increasing its underground presence under Mayor Eric Adams.
“New strategies have shown signs of success, and the MTA is encouraged by Mayor Adams’ commitment to adding social services and police officers as needed to the subways to achieve further improvement,” Donovan said in a statement.