By MAKEET FINCH
Transit advocates From The Riders Alliance Group joined forces with 39 straphanger groups who rallied on Thursday against the MTA’s plan to hire 500 transit cops while cutting transit service.
Protestors sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo demanding him to stop focusing on fare evasions, blaming low income New Yorkers and instead spend the money on improving subway and bus service.
“We’re calling onto the governor to stop criminalizing the poor, I think we’re worth a lot more than $2.75 cents” said Danysha Reyes at the rally in front of Cuomo’s Midtown office.
Officials said the MTA planned to hire 500 new transit cops to deal with homeless people and crack down on fare evasion while implementing service cuts.
The protestors said the Citizens Budget Commission had put a price tag of $261.5 million on hiring the cops. increasing the MTA budget deficit.
The governor’s office did not reply to several requests for comment.
“When we’re talking about a crackdown on fare evasion we’re talking about a surge in summons for people who can least afford it, ” contended Brooklyn public defender Jared Chausow. “We’re talking about a rise in arrest, we’re talking about a billion dollars in new police officers in the subways in record low crime rates.”