“I got to send this to the governor, let him see this shit,” a 25-year veteran of New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority said when posting an now viral video clip depicting a growing crisis in the city's subways.
The employee, subsequently confirmed in media reports as Torry Chalmers, offered video proof that throngs of the city's homeless are now filling up empty train cars on a regular basis.
Chalmers and other employees are demanding “hazard pay” given that the rising number of homeless filling the subways they interact with are a huge risk amid the coronavirus pandemic, also given the Big Apple has for weeks now been the global epicenter.
“This is what I got to do. I got to go to work in this,” he said in the video. “It’s not making any sense. It’s nasty, nasty.”
“People are scared when the train comes in the station,” Chalmers added. “If one car looks bad, they’ll run to another — but it’s the same problem in every car.”
“We’re out there every day putting our lives on the line… We should get hazard pay,” he asserted.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the growing crisis in the wake of growing outrage over the alarming underground hazard conditions, calling the situation “disrespectful to the essential workers who need to ride the subway system.”
Cuomo said Tuesday, “We have to have a public transportation system that is clean, where the trains are disinfected,” and added: “It’s not even safe for the homeless people to be on trains,” Cuomo added.
“We’re concerned about homeless people so we let them stay on the trains without protection in this epidemic of the COVID virus? No, we have to do better than that and we will,” the governor said.
New York and other cities, especially L.A. and San Francisco have for weeks been attempting to get a handle on the homeless crisis amid the pandemic. Recently photos of Las Vegas casino parking lots which served as makeshift homeless 'social distancing' outdoor sleeping venues went viral.
NY Mayor Bill de Blasio has this week called on the MTA to close subway terminals to ensure homeless don't congregate there, and for the purpose of nightly deep disinfecting.
And Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg commented:
"Our customers shouldn't have to board a car that multiple people using it as a shelter and as a trash receptacle or toilet."
Since the crisis began the MTA has greatly reduced its service, also as hundreds of its personnel have been out sick with coronavirus, compounding the risk to the mass transit service and broader public; however, it's considered that the city's subway system which has never completely closed in the century of its existence is vital for daily transporting 'essential' workers.