The MTA has a crime epidemic that robots can’t even fix

Thursday of last week at the Queens Plaza subway station in Long Island City, a foreign tourist was slashed in the neck by a knife-wielding ­lunatic at 10:25 a.m.

The police still haven’t caught the thug.

And as a result, a manager at a major company’s headquarters nearby told me his employees were afraid to go into the office.

Then days later, troubling NYPD data revealed that underground crime during the first two months of 2024 had jumped 20% compared to the same period last year.

What this city needs is a hero.

Look! Up in the sky!

It’s a bird!

It’s a plane!

It’s Overpaid Bureaucrats!

Leaping to action — well, swiveling, really — our city’s bravest, boldest-thinking problem-solvers, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, announced a wildly innovative solution: Those geniuses are gonna spend $21 million on new light bulbs.

We’re saved!

That’s exactly what the MTA needs to fix the 120-year-old subway system in the world’s epicenter of finance and media — a quick run to the bodega.

“It’s simple: a brighter station is a safer station,” said MTA President Rich Davey, our subterranean Mr. Bean.

Of little use in Times Sq.

So true, Richie. A sea of blinding lights, after all, has worked wonders for Times Square, where two NYPD officers were brutally beaten by a group of migrants last month.

The security cameras had a much crisper view of the fight.

The miracle LED bulbs will be installed on a relatively speedy schedule for a New York transit project — by 2026.

That’s a mere two years after the woefully unprepared system will be flooded with new passengers thanks to the moronic congestion-pricing scheme.

And just in time for FIFA World Cup attendees to have a clear-as-day vantage of garbage-strewn tunnels and homeless people napping on benches.

Happy days are here again.

This loopy lightbulb moment is only the latest in a string of ­Homer Simpson-style efforts by the city to improve train safety and make other metropolises cackle with envy.

First in October 2022 came those orange-vested turnstile guards who with their fearsome presence were supposed to deter fare beaters.

New Yorkers, of course, famously care what other people think about their outlandish behavior and act accordingly.

Two years on, and these guys who cost taxpayers a couple million bucks have devolved into Walmart greeters for casual lawbreakers.

“Welcome! Welcome!”

They’re not empowered to fine or arrest anybody — fantastic — so they stand idly by and check Instagram instead.

Since Operation Elementary School Crossing Guards flopped, the MTA has been testing ultra-secure swinging gates that are supposed to prevent a loser from simply crawling under or jumping over them.

They cost about $700,000 to install in one subway station.

The city has 472.

Mere wave of the hand

It took a bored TikTok user about two minutes to discover a hack in which a person need only wave his hand in front of a sensor and stroll right on in.

Gaining free entry, a Post reporter confirmed, is easier than getting soap to dispense in a bathroom at La Guardia.

And who can forget the $12,500 K5 Knightscope, a big honkin’ police robot that became the Times Square subway station’s Cousin Oliver from “The Brady Bunch.”

Dismissed two weeks ago after just six months of doing, um, something, the K5 was KO’d.

An actually smart plan was finally announced this week by Mayor Adams: More NYPD cops — the human kind — will be positioned in stations and on platforms.

Great. However, the move could be too little, too late. 

Police officers have resigned in droves over the past two years. So with a diminished force, these transit shifts will have to last a punishing 12 hours.

“You’re gonna wear those cops out,” former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on WOR radio’s “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in The Morning.” 

“Most of those cops have no experience working in the subways. They’re not subway transit cops. They’re street cops. They don’t wanna be there.”

Can you believe it?

It’s 2024, and New York City’s best hope for a harm-free commute is a shipment of lightbulbs.

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