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Mayor to MTA: Curb Homeless Squatters in Empty Subway Stations, Amid COVID-19

Mayor de Blasio's "End of the Line" plan demands MTA close 10 subway terminals to curb virus transmission
MTA ridership has reached a record low this last month, but is quickly being replaced by the homeless. Courtesy of FLICKR
The estimated $100 million pilot program is supposed to test barriers designed to keep riders from being pushed, accidentally falling or intentionally going onto the tracks. Courtesy of FLICKR

Mayor Bill de Blasio demanded on Tuesday the MTA close 10 subway terminals to curb transmission of COVID-19 among the homeless population. This statement comes only days after the mayor assured the public that the city was under control, reports the New York Post.

The "End of the Line" plan was announced late Monday after a complaint from transit workers over an influx of homeless people living in the subway system, as the city hit a record-low ridership in the past month.

"Everyone has to get out of the stations, instead of what's happened for years and years — that a homeless person just sits on the train, or maybe gets off the train temporarily, gets right back on it, goes then the whole way back," stated de Blasio.

COVID-19 can survive on subway surfaces for up to 72 hours according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The way to assure that virus doesn't stay in the subway system is to disrupt the influx of homeless individuals; close and deep clean stations; and provide alternative shuttles for late-night riders.

Stations impacted will include:
• Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue — D,F
• Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn College — 2,5
• Jamaica-179th Street — F
• Jamaica Center — Parsons/Archer — E
• WTC — E
• 96th Street/2nd Avenue — Q
• Pelham Bay Park — 6
• Van Cortlandt Park 242nd Street — 1
• Wakefield — 241st Street — 2,5
• Woodlawn — 4

Alternative shuttle buses will be provided at these stations, according to the plan.

While the End of the Line Plan is straight-forward, MTA insists the problem is the city's responsibility, as the city has continued to promise adequate shelter accommodations. The city has promised to open 200 new beds for street and subway homeless this week, which is still significantly less than the thousands of beds requested by homeless advocates.

However, this has been a recurring issue, the homeless get out of the transit system only to get right back on. The NYPD has been attempting to curb the population, and de Blasio hopes MTA eventually will extend the plan across all 38 subway terminals.

"We're relieved on behalf of our customers and employees that the city has agreed to do more to provide safe shelter for homeless New Yorkers, but it should not have taken a global pandemic for the City to do a job the MTA has called on it to do for years," MTA spokeswoman Abbey Collins said. "The Mayor should get out of his car and into the subways so he can see what is really going on and solve the problem of his own making."


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