New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees are citing concerns about the influx of homeless New Yorkers sleeping on subway lines amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Footage of a No. 2 train now circulating on social media captures how the subways have transformed into homeless shelters.
The video —reportedly filmed by an MTA employee on Sunday morning— shows a countless number of New Yorkers asleep. As the employee walks through train after train, more homeless people are seen sprawled out.
During a news interview with WLNY, MTA train operator Yann Hicks voiced his concerns about the health risks he’s facing due to the unsanitary conditions he’s currently working in.
A frustrated Hicks noted that nearly all of the homeless people on the “dirty” subway trains have no masks.
“The virus is going back and forth, back and forth in dirty trains with people, homeless, and everybody with no masks on. There’s a problem here,” Hicks said.
See the footage below:
While most of the photos circulating show deserted landmarks around New York City, Hicks noted that the reason is because most people are underground —in the subways where he works.
“You look at the videos of Times Square. It’s empty outside. You look at the videos all over the place, it’s empty because everybody’s underground. There’s a whole city of people underground,” Hicks said.
Despite MTA employees’ concerns, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio insists the city has taken “aggressive action” to assist approximately 1,700 homeless people on the subway line.
On Saturday, de Blasio announced safe haven beds were being would be opening to accommodate the homeless.
“These are the kinds of beds and facilities that help us get people immediately off the street, who have reached that point where they’re ready to finally come in and accept shelter and change their lives and, hopefully, never, ever go back to the streets,” de Blasio said.
However, MTA employees are still concerned about the sanitary conditions of the subway lines. Hicks offered a recommendation that could make working conditions safer for employees amid the pandemic.
“I think they should shut down at least from like midnight to 5 and clean up the trains, clean up the areas where the employees are. Get it all fresh and ready for the next day of essential workers,” Hicks said.
As of Monday afternoon, the state of New York has over 190,000 coronavirus cases and a death toll of more than 9,000.