By Serin Sarsour
New Yorkers are known to always be in a hurry to get to where they need to be. However, since more classes have been back in person, the MTA has become an obstacle for many, including CUNY students.
There are almost 50 percent fewer riders on the MTA than there were pre-COVID. However, ridership has been increasing lately as a result of public school students going back to school in NYC, according to the Gothamist. Although this benefits the MTA’s financial concerns, CUNY students are worried about riders not maintaining social distance and mask mandates as COVID-19 persists.
“The pandemic is still amongst us, and we’re like canned sardines packed in the trains and buses,” said a BC sophomore who wanted to remain anonymous. Additionally, Kori Chestnut, a Kingsborough Community College student, expressed that they have seen many people take their masks off as soon as they board or completely “refuse to put on a mask.”
CUNY students are also encountering bus and train delays. “Buses take way too long to come, and the MTA app is not accurate a lot of the time,” said BC senior Faizeh Hammood. “There should be more buses and trains to keep up with the demand.”
However, there has been a shortage of MTA employees as a result of the vaccine mandate. “Some 27,000 MTA employees — more than a third of its workforce — still do not have a record of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, according to transit leaders,” AMNY reported. Thousands of MTA employees are quitting because they do not want to get vaccinated, leading to delays and overcrowding on trains and buses since fewer workers are on duty.
Although the MTA employee shortage is out of CUNY students’ control, they hope that the MTA improves on a few things, including its infrastructure and train or bus updates. “I wish that the MTA would provide accurate information on when trains arrive,” said Hunter College sophomore Steven Espinoza.