Back to All

MTA Board Meeting Testimony- “Time to Convene A National Transit Safety Summit”

Good morning. I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.

We’re breathing a little easier since the arrest of the alleged Q train shooter, who senselessly and without provocation took Daniel Enriquez’s life. Riding the subway, going to brunch, should not be a death sentence. Thank you to the police for their hard work getting the guy, and thank you to the transit workers who tried valiantly to save their passenger on Sunday. We again appreciate that cameras in the system helped to identify the shooter and get him behind bars. Some Wednesday morning quarterbacking: did he pay his fare? Could he have been stopped at the turnstile? We’re also concerned that pulling the emergency cord seemed the only way that panicked riders knew to alert someone to trouble. Easier and better ways to notify crews and the PD of problems before they start are a must.

Riding the subways is part of who we are as New Yorkers, and for many of us, transit is the only way we have to get around. We’re mad, we’re scared, we’re ticked off, but we’re also not going to give up and stay home. It’s not who we are or what we do. But we collectively need a new plan, and appreciate that the Mayor, Police and you, Janno, are intently focused on keeping riders safe. That’s critical so that more and more people get back onboard. There is safety in numbers, but a new shooting every couple of weeks is a real deterrent to increasing ridership. Illegal guns are poisoning our way of life; we need poison control systems and to extract the poison to keep them off our streets and out of our trains and buses.

Transit crime is the new pandemic. But it isn’t unique to New York, any more than illegal guns are. Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago and LA are facing many of the same issues, and we should put our collective heads together to come up with solutions. Let’s convene a national transit safety summit. Let’s show solidarity against crime and in support of riders. We stand with you.  Thank you.