Subways Riders Demanding Answers As City’s Homeless Continue Taking Over Train Cars – CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As temperatures plunge, some subway riders say they’re seeing more and more homeless people seeking shelter inside subway cars.

This winter, commuters say the problem has gotten so bad they’re left with no seats to use.

CBS2’s Lisa Rozner took those concerns to the police commissioner and the MTA.

Vagrants turning half of a subway car into their home, filling it with bags, boxes, and clothes.

(Credit: CBS2/Edwin Rivera)

In others, benches being used as beds.

(Credit: CBS2/Edwin Rivera)

Edwin Rivera says it’s why he has trouble finding a seat on the 2 train from 149th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx to his job near Columbus Circle.

“Five, 5:30 in the morning… you get in the car… there’s somebody sleeping there. Two, three, four people sleeping in different cars,” Rivera described.

“The smell is terrible… Sometimes they defecate on themselves and you have to leave that car.”

Samuel Santos says it also happens on the A train when he gets on at 181st Street.

“A lot of times you’re standing because you don’t want to sit down,” Santos explained.

F train commuter Andrew Quinn says he’s notified conductors.

“They tell you ‘yeah I know and I’ve reported it and I just have to keep the trains moving,’” the Park Slope resident claimed.

(Credit: CBS2/Edwin Rivera)

CBS2 showed the videos to NYPD commissioner James O’Neill Monday.

“Is the NYPD supposed to be stepping in here and getting these guys off the cars?” Rozner asked.

“Yeah and as I look at these videos of course they’re disturbing. You’re not supposed to be laying down on the subway… if you’re taking up one seat you’re not committing any violations, that’s fine,” O’Neill said.

“There are things we can do. This doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of a violation, a summons, or an arrest.”

“I wonder if the police commissioner has been on the subway recently when they’ve seen this,” Andrew Quinn added.

“I would like to see more police… Right now they’re using it as a as a shelter and it’s taking away from people on the subway who’ve actually paid to use it for what the subway is for.”

CBS2 also we showed the videos to the MTA. A spokesperson refused to answer questions and only referred to the Bowery Residents’ Committee – a non-profit that does outreach to the homeless on the subways.

That organization didn’t return CBS2’s calls either. Back in October, the city’s Transit Authority president Andy Byford said he ordered his station managers to work with the NYPD and the Department of Homeless Services to stop the city’s growing homeless popular from overrunning trains.

Three months later, how it’s still being tolerated is still unclear.

“Roll their sleeves… Get out from their office… MTA or maybe the mayor’s office and help us,” Samuel Santos pleaded.

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