We feel safe paying $2.90 per subway ride

By Alex P. Vidal

“I would roll up pennies to take the subway to work in Times Square. I was broke, but I was happy.”— Jennifer Garner

BEFORE the 2020 pandemic, we used to pay $2.75 per ride in the subway train and in all other Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) public transportations in New York City.

Now it’s $2.90. I travel from Queens to Manhattan vice versa eight times per week and notice the subway is not only being secured by the New York Police Department (NYPD) after the sudden upsurge of crime in many subway stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens.

We now have the National Guard, a state-based military force that becomes part of the U.S. military’s reserve components of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force when activated for federal missions.

Can you beat that? That’s equivalent to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deployed in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Manila Metro Rail Transit System in the Philippines.

As a NYC resident and regular subway passenger, I welcome the deployment of National Guard provided they don’t brandish long firearms as this will bring confusion and fear among the passengers.

We feel safe with the presence of NYPD; we feel safer seeing the National Guard back the security in all the major subway stations. Whenever there is opportunity mostly in the Grand Central Station where I frequently pass by, I do a “selfie” with the NYPD or National Guard men and women in the background.


The deployment of National Guard occurred after subway crime rose nearly 20 percent in January and February this year, as compared to this time in 2023.

The period saw substantial increases in grand larcenies (22 percent increase), felony assaults (17 percent) and robberies (12 percent), according to newly released NYPD statistics.

There have been two murders in the subway system this year, compared with just one at this point in 2023.

The combined statistics point to an overall crime increase of about 18.3 percent, with 317 reported incidents compared to 268 over the same period last year. However, arrests have also increased by 44 percent.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the NYPD will quickly move to 12-hour tours to try to control the crime wave, which he blamed on the city’s rollback of its subway safety plan that increased police presence in the subway in 2022.

Adams stressed finding a “new norm for patrolling our subway systems” — including reinstating the increased police presence and enhanced bag checks.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced March 6 that nearly 1,000 New York National Guardsmen, state police and MTA cops are being deployed to carry out bag checks in the subway system.


Troops first appeared in the subways on March 6 to conduct random bag checks in a major show of force that Hochul said would help solve the “crisis” of crime in the subways, the New York Post has reported.

“These brazen, heinous attacks on our subway system will not be tolerated,” Hochul said.

“No one heading to their job or to visit family or go to a doctor appointment should worry that the person sitting next to them possesses a deadly weapon,” the governor added.

“They shouldn’t worry about whether someone’s going to brandish a knife or gun. That’s what we’re going to do with these checkpoints.”

Hochul has hit back at critics, arguing the average commuter is feeling high levels of “anxiety” on the system and that the National Guard will help “supplement” the NYPD’s efforts to keep the subway safe.

In addition to the patrol boost, Hochul plans to introduce a new law that allows judges to ban anyone who has been convicted of a violent transit assault from riding New York City’s subway or bus system.

Hochul’s plan includes new surveillance cameras directed toward conductor cabins to protect transit staff, CCTV cameras in every train car by the end of the year, and a $20 million cash injection to increase the number of Subway Co-Response Outreach teams throughout the system.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)