More MTA employees than ever are being assaulted by customers, and workers say it’s because riders are fed up with delays.
“It’s happening more because there are so many delays and the riders take it out on who’s in front of them,” said Crystal Young, chair of the Transit Workers Union’s conductor and tower division.
There have been at least six assaults on subway workers since the last week of May.
Conductor Anthony Williams was punched in the face at the Times Square station on Friday just as the train was about to pull away. His assailant ran and was not caught.
Another conductor, Tribowan Sukhdeo, was working on an L train when he was punched in the face at Atlantic Avenue. Two conductors were punched on Thursday — one in Queens and one in the Bronx. The day before, a station cleaner was so badly verbally assaulted by a passenger that she had to be taken to the hospital for emotional trauma, sources said.
And on Sunday, a rider spit in train operator E. Strickland’s face on a 4 train traveling through Manhattan after asking the worker for directions.
Strickland said he tried to explain to the irate passengers that they had to transfer to go local, but they instead called him a “stupid n—-r” and then assaulted him.
MTA workers say the assaults are becoming an epidemic as riders are angrier than ever about delays. They also say that cops and prosecutors are not taking the assaults seriously enough.
“We need more police officers in the subway,” Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “That will deter attacks and lead to more arrests. We also need prosecutors to take assaults, including spitting and punching, more seriously when these cases do get to court.”
MTA officials said they are dismayed by the increasing assaults on workers.
Additional reporting by Tina Moore and Ben Feuerherd
Hey MTA: Cut the BS
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