Since 2010, roughly 180 station booths and attendants were eliminated across the transit system. The city has stated that it will put in intercoms to increase safety at subway stations, however local officials argue that isn’t enough.
“Who is going to be on the other side of the intercom?” asked State Senator Jose Peralta at a recent rally in front of the Steinway Street station in Astoria. “It’s not adequate.”
“There are a lot of things that don’t work in the subway system,” added Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “The last thing you’re ever going to want to do is be running away from someone who could be a mugger or could be a rapist and think that you’re pressing a button that will lead to you being rescued and it’s not in order.”
Despite the protests, the MTA has no plans to reopen the closed booths.
TWU member Charles Jenkins said transit workers don't fear for their jobs, but rather have the public’s safety in mind.
“We’re out here on behalf of the community at large,” he said. “We believe that a human can more adequately respond to something that can harm people that commute every single day.”