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
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
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
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