NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - New York City Transit President Andy Byford is drawing the line on homelessness in the subways. As the MTA looks to improve customer experience, the hammer is coming down. Station managers are being ordered to have those who litter or take up more than one seat removed from the system.
"Lying across a seat or behaving in an antisocial manner or making a mess is not acceptable. That crosses the line," Byford said. "Warming up is one thing but being offensive, obnoxious, and antisocial is another. And that we're not prepared to tolerate."
But one MTA board member warned that homelessness in the system is a complex issue. Charles Moerdler said that individuals are likely there as a last resort and represent a range from the mentally ill to those down on their luck in a way we can't fathom.
"They are individuals with individual problems," he said. "And to deal with them all as one is just wrong."
This may end up being an easier policy to announce than to enforce. This isn't just a problem in the stations but also on trains. A New York Times report last winter found 70 homeless people on one E train.
The MTA told Fox 5 that this isn't a cold-hearted crackdown and that the agency is using nonprofit groups that deal with the homeless to try to find the individuals a better situation.