PSD fails again, we found, at protecting public transit riders from maskless companions, including infants too young for vaccines. A ballooning lack of leadership at RIOC spreads across the community. This calls for resignations or, if needed, firings as COVID-19 exposes ineptitude from the top down.
by David Stone
PSD Fails and Here’s the Proof
First, let’s deal with the Public Safety Department’s denials: All photos included below were taken by Roosevelt Islanders during normal travel during a little over 24-hour period. Nobody went looking. And each is time, date and place stamped, captured during one bus and two Tram rides.
Second, at no time on either Tram or Red Bus was any PSD presence observed. Moreover, not a single operator or driver made any announcement about mask-wearing.
All this matters because New York infection rates are rising fast, now at triple the rate at the beginning of this month.
An “all hands on deck” approach on crowded cabins and buses protects everyone. If Public Safety can’t handle it, can’t get over denials and passing blame, then leadership is at fault, not the officers.
It’s open, and it’s blatant.
While PSD can argue that this passenger was not in the driver’s view, most of the time, that excuse is not available.
Because many visitors from outside New York ride the Tram, announcements and enforcement are critical to public health, but RIOC appears ignorant of all concerns and responsibilities. If you can’t put officers on every Tram, why not train the operators to inform riders?
This simple commitment seems beyond the ken of RIOC.
But worst of all…
RIOC and PSD will not, after multiple exposures, protect our most vulnerable residents. That’s clear.
Situations like this have been reported, over and over, without squeezing President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes out of his Blackwell House bunker nor does it help that the board, charged with managing operations, is about as effective putting a bandage on a fractured skull.
PSD Fails, But Where Do We Go From Here
Although in this as well as other situations it’s been adequately shown that neither PSD Chief Kevin Brown nor Haynes are up to their jobs, neither has enough character to simply step down from cushy, high-paying jobs they can’t handle. And RIOC’s board, which could act on behalf of the community, consists of detached members who’ve failed for years at standing tall in crises.
Governor Kathy Hochul, who promised big changes after replacing Cuomo, did the opposite here. What little transparency and accountability RIOC had disappeared inside Blackwell House during her tenure. Now in trouble across the state, she has demonstrated loyalty to campaign contributors and special demographics important for her reelection and little regard for every day New Yorkers.
The bottom line: Protect yourself. PSD will not reliably do so. Keep a good distance from the parade of maskless riders on Red Buses and Tram cabins. Wear a good face mask.
We all wish to see the pandemic over, and much of the restrictions are gone. But crowded mass transit is a high risk area. Eager for the end of required face masks? Do what RIOC and PSD won’t.
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