Why Has Security Not Been Improved?

In response to a published news report that the MTA has only spent a small fraction of the funds it committed post-9/11 to beef up transit security:

I am outraged, as I am sure most New Yorkers are, to learn that the MTA and New York Cityís political leaders have collectively dropped the ball on securing our Cityís transit system.

And what have the people in charge done to reduce the threat, protect our lives and allow our citizens to communicate in the event of an emergency? Padded the pockets of consultants and reneged on their commitment to invest $600 million in our security.

Studies are all well and good. But they are not worth the paper they are written on if they are not followed up with concrete action driven by effective leaders.

New Yorkers deserve to know where the accountability for this failure is. And in the same way, they deserve to know where their Public Advocate was when the MTA was missing in action.

It is her job to be a watchdog on critical issues like this, but she seems more interested in putting out press releases than sniffing out security lapses. Recently Gotbaum issued an inaccurate study about the failure rate of Metrocards at subway turnstiles, when she could have been leading the fight to address the single most important issue with our transit system - the security of its riders.

New York canít afford to have its Public Advocate MIA on the MTA. As Public Advocate, I will follow the MTA like a hawk, and I will lead the city to find innovative solutions to keep our people safe and in communication. At the very least, the MTA should make immediately available 911 emergency cellphone service on subway platforms and accelerate the same through all subway tunnels.

Itís high time we wire New Yorkís transit system, so its u sers can communicate wirelessly via cellphone or text message throughout the system above and underground and to alert authorities of any suspicious people or packages.

Also, as has been demonstrated by other emergencies here and around the world, the majority of people affected attempt to communicate to the authorities, to friends and to loved ones via cellphone or text message regarding their location and well-being.

The MTA and City officials should not rely on the profit-minded telecoms to insure that all cell phone calls or text messages get through. Reliable communication is an imperative and key step to making the transit system of the leading city of the United States more secure for its users. 

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