New York City subway is dangerous for everyone
NEW YORK - November 14, 2018
The subway in New York is one big threat, unpleasant for anyone to use, adult or child, resident or visitor.
A recent NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation study showed that it is even more dangerous for women to be in the MTA than men because they are at risk of being robbed, harassed, or insulted.
The online survey was held from early September to November and showed disappointing conclusions. Among the questions were whether they like the subway system, whether it is convenient and safe, and questions about travel habits.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Sarah Kaufman, Associate Director of the Rudin Center and one of the authors of the report, said the survey aimed "to quantify" how harassment impacts the experience and cost of commuting for women.
"Looking at it through the lens of a 'Pink Tax,'" or gender-based price discrimination, "is one way to determine how their need for safety impacts their economic standing," she said.
There were 547 complete responses to the 33-question survey, the report said. About 52% of respondents were female, including cis, trans and female-presenting. Of the respondents, 76% identified as white, 7.7% as Asian or Asian-American, 7.1% as Hispanic or Latino, and 3.3% as black or African-American.
Most respondents live in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but all boroughs were represented.
According to the results, 75% of female respondents had experienced harassment or theft while using public transportation, mostly on subway trains, compared to 47% of male respondents.
More than half of female respondents said they were concerned about being harassed on public transportation, compared to 20% of male respondents; and 29% of the women versus 8% of men said they don’t take public transportation late at night because of "a perceived safety threat."
Because of these safety concerns, the authors of the report estimate that women spend an extra $26 to $50 a month on means of transportation other than subways and buses. They estimate that men do not have this extra cost.
The survey also found that, of those who experienced harassment while using public transportation, 88% did not report the incident.
"Several respondents shared the sentiment that reporting the incident would have no effect," the report said.
The MTA did not immediately reply to a request for comment but says on its website that it encourages all victims or witnesses of harassment to report the incidents to the NYPD or MTA police officers.
Kaufman said women who did report incidents said there was "a lack of sensitivity" from authorities.
The report recommends that first responders get more training on how to help victims of harassment and adding security cameras in train cars.
Kaufman hopes to do another survey within the next year to reach a more diverse group.
"I'd like to do it in person and by phone and hopefully in other languages as well."
Every day, thousands and millions of people use the MTA. To get from Brooklyn to Manhattan or Harlem you have to spend at least two hours and know the train schedule at the moment and leave an extra half hour in case of unexpected stops between stations that occur constantly. New Yorkers are most likely used to this, but every resident has applications such as Move it so as not to accidentally be late for a meeting or a flight.
Let's say the time of the trip can be sorted out with the help of apps, but to leave Manhattan in the morning or in the evening during peak hour, an app won't help. It’s better to relax in a coffee shop for half an hour than to wait in the subway till you can finally get on—perhaps not until the fifth or sixth train comes.
Trains run at intervals of 5-10 minutes during the day and 20-30 minutes in the evening.
Go on. The New York subway can accommodate a lot of people, this was discussed at the beginning. Sometimes men use it more, sometimes women.
As for the subway, it is worth starting with the fact that it's dirty. Despite the presence of cleaning services, which are very small, in general, the subway is one big dump with garbage and homeless people. The homeless tend to be dirtier in Manhattan, whereas in Brooklyn there is a special place where they are given housing and food. Although this so-called charity has been developed in New York, in some ways it remains imaginary.
Going back to the MTA, it's dirty—that's the first thing. Second, there’s a real risk of being robbed. Trips are always unpredictable; you never know when a beggar with a song will come and clean out your pockets. They’re very well trained.
Third, the MTA's system is a threat at night thanks to those who are using it to evade cops or who are in search of drugs or spirits. Alcohol is only sold until 11pm in New York, but the drunks know where to get it after that.
The risk of being robbed or attacked is increased at times when there are few or no other riders, allowing the attacker to run away at the next station.
Therefore, the New York subway is a complex and dangerous system for anyone, regardless of whether it is a woman or man. Crooks are equal opportunity offenders.
The MTA authorities previously said that they will soon completely change the metro system, making it more convenient for people, and most importantly safer, and to date, many stations are indeed closed or partially open for repair.