MTA considering proposal to ban repeat offenders in New York City

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA is considering a proposal that would ban repeat offenders from New York City's transit system.

At an MTA board meeting on Monday, the Transit Committee agreed to consider a ban on repeat criminals who treat the transit system as their hunting ground for victims.

MTA Transit Chief Edward Delatorre recounted offenders they have arrested again and again and argued that until authorities prevent career criminals from getting on subways and buses, the rest of the ridership will remain at risk.

"To have someone come into system and terrify people is unacceptable," board member Susan Metzger said.

The president of the transit system agreed the MTA cannot be a free for all.

"We need to get to a controlled environment where everyone is welcomed, but have to adhere to certain levels of behavior," MTA President Andy Byford said.

The subcommittee voted Monday to bring the issue to the main board on Wednesday -- to begin discussions on how to execute such an ambitious ban.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo fully supports the resolution and is now encouraging the legislature and justice system to help make it a reality.

Some aren't convinced the MTA could enforce such a ban.

"It's utterly absurd, impossible to enforce. They'd be much better off enforcing fare beating," one straphanger said.

There are many practical questions ahead, including: How will they find and track repeat offenders among the millions who ride the system every day and will this lead to broad racial profiling?

New York City is not a trailblazer here. Other big cities have already approved similar bans.

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