NYC Transit deletes tweet about moves to deter homeless people from occupying subway
In a now-deleted tweet, the New York City Transit Authority said benches were removed from a subway platform to prevent homeless people from occupying them
The New York City Transit Authority has come under fire for a controversial tweet about its decision to remove benches from subway platforms.
According to screenshots obtained by the New York Post, a now-deleted message was posted from its Twitter account saying that benches were taken away to keep away homeless people.
On Friday, Twitter user @Des4gr8ness, who goes by Jeremy in his profile name, posted a photo of a bare platform at the 23rd Street stop in Manhattan with the caption, “Damn, the benches were f—ing up the budget that much? That’s crazy @MTA.”
Well, the verified @NYCTSubway account replied to his post, writing, “Hi Jeremy. Benchers were removed from stations to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them. ^JP”
No less than 2,600 people retweeted Transit’s response, beginning a wave of scrutiny on the social media site.
The tweet has since been deleted. Abbey Collins, a spokeswoman from New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), issued a written statement regarding the post, saying it was made “in error.”
“The subway is not a substitute for a shelter and homeless New Yorkers deserve much better care,” Collins wrote. “We have been working with the city on this important issue and have asked for more dedicated mental health and medical resources, which are urgently needed to solve the homeless crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MTA continues to cease subway service between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. in order to thoroughly disinfect all stations and trains. According to The Gothamist, several homeless people who seek refuge in the subway have been displaced since the overnight shutdowns began last May.
The New York Times reported that the MTA was seeking $12 billion in federal aid in December to avoid massive budget cuts that would’ve resulted in cutting 40% of subways and buses and layoffs. They wound up being approved for a $4.5 billion federal bailout that month, as reported by New York Magazine.
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