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Terrified by NYC subway attacks, locals opt for Citi Bikes


When Devin Stagg and his wife Ashley moved from Provo, Utah to Manhattan in March 2021, they were relieved to unload their cars. They live in Midtown West, close to the N, R and W trains, and wanted to avoid the hassle of parking.

But just over a month after their move, Stagg’s wife, Ashley, a nurse, had a harrowing experience on the F train near Prospect Park.

A group of men on the subway on a Friday night around 7 p.m. began making eyes at her and a group of other women. They pointed to their purses and moments later Ashley saw one of the men holding what appeared to be a sharp weapon. She was unhurt, but she felt unsafe, so she left the train at the next stop. From now on, the couple avoids the metro at all costs.

“It was that moment where you’re like holy shit, you hear about stuff, you read stuff like that, but it hit home and never,” Stagg, 30, told The Post.

As a crime wave continues to terrorize the city, New Yorkers are forgoing the subway in favor of Citi bikes, scooters, expensive taxis and Ubers that can’t fit their budget. From January to August this year, subway riders and workers suffered 373 criminal assaults, up from 314 during the same period in 2021, an 18.8% increase according to the NYPD’s latest MTA Crime Report. . The MTA’s latest rider survey found that only 33 percent of riders are happy with their safety on trains, while 70 percent want more police. Citi Bike, meanwhile, had its highest ridership month ever last August, and memberships were up 10% year-over-year to Sept. 1, according to a spokesperson.

“We almost exclusively went with Citi Bikes and try to avoid the subway,” said Stagg, who works in marketing. The couple shelled out $185 each for a membership and they also recently purchased a $1,000 electric scooter.

“It’s probably safer to take a risk with NYC traffic and pedestrians than having to worry about the subway,” Stagg said of the scooter. ” [At least] you can ride safely and be a defensive driver.

Lesley Koeppel rides her Yamaha Vino scooter in Midtown. Today, she feels safer on her motorized scooter than on the subway.
Brian Zak/New York Post

Lesley Koeppel, 57, a psychotherapist living on the Upper East Side, bought her first Yamaha motorized scooter shortly after 9/11 for safety reasons. These days, every member of her family—husband, son, and daughter—has her own scooter, and they’re using it more than ever.

“I don’t take the metro. I don’t feel safe,” she said. “There are so many mentally ill and drug addicts now taking trains to seek refuge.”

Her daughter, who attends Fordham Law at Lincoln Center, has had particularly bad experiences on the subway in recent months.

“She got into an empty car and there was a half-naked man who started playing with himself – she can’t tell,” Koeppel said, adding that her daughter also saw a teenager threatening other school-aged children by patting his jeans pocket. like he had a gun.

“She said it was petrifying,” Koeppel said. “I feel safer sending my 22 year old daughter on a mini motorbike through the streets of Manhattan… You have more control than on a subway where you can’t control the environment around you.”

Terrified by NYC subway attacks, locals opt for Citi Bikes
“I feel safer sending my 22-year-old daughter on a mini motorbike through the streets of Manhattan…You have more control than on a subway where you can’t control the environment around you,” said said Koeppel.
Brian Zak/New York Post

Véronique Ehamo, a Morningside Heights-based part-time teacher and doctoral candidate, was horrified by the mass shooting on an April rush-hour train in Sunset Park. Ever since she’s been riding her bike or shelling out more than she can afford on taxis and Uber fares – and remembering simpler times.

“Years ago, I would fall asleep on the Jamaica E train from Queens to the 42nd Street stop in Manhattan without thinking much about it,” Ehamo, 28, said. “I felt really safe. I would be on my phone with headphones on and I didn’t think twice about who might be around,” she said.

But now she doesn’t even take the train in broad daylight most of the time, and when she does, she’s on high alert.

“I try to avoid eye contact,” she said.

Terrified by NYC subway attacks, locals opt for Citi Bikes
Véronique Ehamo, a Morningside Heights-based part-time teacher and doctoral candidate, was horrified by the mass shooting on an April rush-hour train in Sunset Park. Since she rides her bike or pays more than she can afford on taxis and Uber fares.
Courtesy of Véronique Ehamo
Terrified by NYC subway attacks, locals opt for Citi Bikes
Teresa Alessandro, a real estate agent, started riding her Vespa at the start of the pandemic.
Courtesy of Teresa Alessandro

Teresa Alessandro is more concerned with convenience than security. She first got her bright red Vespa in 2020 when she felt train times were unreliable. Since then, the real estate agent has been delighted with the ease with which he can move around town for his work.

“I can drive through Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan all week,” she said. “Above ground is a more civilized ride.”

Parents are also rethinking modes of transport. Isabel Berney, the founder of Buggy, a Miami-based private school bus service, plans to expand to Manhattan in January because she has seen demand.

“Before, the parents were in agreement with the fact that their college students took the metro, but that [mass subway shooting] the attack happened and they are uncomfortable,” she said.

Koeppel continues to love her scooter life, although she readily admits that her Yamaha has its own safety issues.

“I don’t recommend anyone to have a scooter,” she said. “They can be extremely dangerous for most people.”

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