Wednesday, May 14, 2008
If you See Something, Say Something and be prepared to WAIT!
9:00ish – Walking in the corridor towards the 7 train from A train at Port Authority I passed a screaming preacher, except he was walking next to me and others around me following us and literally screaming until the steps to go down to the 7 train platform.
9:10 – I walk back through the corridor to three transit police officers who I saw earlier to make a complaint against the preacher. They appear to be busy with another civillian and tell me they’ll look into it, even though they didn’t have any information like, who, where, etc.
9:20 – Unhappy with the response from the three police officers and doubtful they will do anything because #1 they don’t know who I am talking about and #2 where the inciddent occurred, I got the dispatch office of the 7 train. I am told they can’t call a police officer, and I need to go tell a token booth operator who can call for police.
9:30 – I go to booth near West 42nd and 7th avenue part of the subway station. The attendant Robin is helpful and says she will call for an officer if Im willing to wait.
10:00 No officer and the attendent says that according to MTA policy, she can call if an officer hasn’t arrived within 30 minutes. I tell her that I’m willing to wait and to please call again.
10:12 (almost 45 mintues after the original call) I see three officers walking past us from a distance. I motion to the token booth attendant who opens the door to her booth and yells at the officers to come over and explains how I have been waiting “for an hour.”
10:15 Officers listen to what happened and say they will talk with the guy.
Later in the day I call the New York City Transit Customer Service Line (718-330-3322) to compliment the attendant and complain about the “No Response” from the police. The operator tells me I need to call the Transit Police (718-694-3640) to discuss the lack of response.
Later in the afternoon I call the Transit Police and speak with a helpful officer who answers the phone “Transit Wheel” and says that a 20-25 minute wait is normal, but 45 minutes is unacceptable. She said that maybe the attendant did not report the complaint. Each token booth is assigned a number and I told the officer the number of the booth I went to and she was able to use the number to locate the Call for Service. It was dispatched at 9:48 and closed at 10:51. The call was for a “religious person in station harrasing customer,” but it failed to mention that a citizen was waiting at the token booth to speak with an officer. No one is going to wait 45 minutes to speak to an officer about this, and that’s why it continues unchecked. I asked that they please improve communication between their dispatch staff and the token booth attendants and improved trianing for the token booth attendants in reporting citizen requests for an officer.
Everyone I interacted with was courteous and kind, but a 45 minute wait is unacceptable and must be improved. I saw something today and said something, but next time I’m tempted to just close my eyes and cover my ears!
If you want to help improve the response time of the transit police, join the force by clicking here: http://www.mta.info/