Homeless people riding the subways will now be forced to leave the train at the end of the line and police will ramp up enforcement against spitting, laying down and littering on subways, Mayor Eric Adams announced at a press conference Friday with Governor Kathy Hochul, unveiling the second phase of their subway safety plan.
“No more smoking, no more doing drugs, no more sleeping, no more doing barbecues on the subway system,” Adams said, at a press conference at Fulton Street subway stop Friday morning. “No more just doing whatever you want. No, those days are over … The system was not made to be housing, it’s made to be transportation.”
Adams said people who reach the end of the line will be told they have to leave, and “End of the Line” teams that include police officers will be forcing them to do so. Those patrols will begin on the A,E,1,2 N and R lines, according to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who added an additional 1,000 police officers are already on patrol throughout the system each day.
NYPD officers will have a direct mandate to enforce rules against lying down, sleeping, or outstretching, spitting or littering, aggressive behavior towards riders, smoking or open drug use, according to the new plan.
It also calls for adding 490 safe haven and “stabilization” beds — shelters that provide mental health treatment — as well as the creation of new drop-in centers for homeless people at key subway stations. Along with police, the city will dispatch 30 joint response teams that include homeless services and health department workers to conduct outreach to homeless people on the subway.
Police have often used force to arrest and detain homeless people riding subways. Advocates for the homeless said they were alarmed by the mayor and governor’s announcement Friday, fearing that the broader housing goals of the plan would take far longer to implement, while the police enforcement could essentially ramp up overnight.