Big Apple straphangers are in survival mode amid a surge in transit violence — and renewed fears following Saturday’s unprovoked subway shoving death in Times Square.
“I always have to think about, what if they push me with my kids?” mom Stephanie Martinez, 28, admitted while clutching her 7-year-old son’s hand and keeping a tight grip on her younger son’s stroller at the Times Square station.
“I always have to be attentive and it’s scary because you don’t know who is behind your back.”
Martinez, a medical assistant from Brooklyn, said her head is now constantly on a pivot in wake of the death of Michelle Go, who was pushed in front of an oncoming R train by a deranged vagrant just days ago.
“I’m afraid to go on the train now,” the mom said while waiting for the 2 train. “I’m extremely careful. I lock the stroller and I stand in the middle of the platform and I look around me to see, like, someone looking suspicious or homeless.”
Overhead, the loudspeaker blared, “Please stand away from the platform edge.”
Bronx home health aide Matilda Oteng said the fear of riding the rails has her so frightened, she’s considered quitting her job.
“I’m scared, especially when I’m near the yellow line,” Oteng said at the Bryant Park station. “You don’t know who you are standing next to. When the lady was pushed, I told my husband, ‘I have my job, but maybe I should stay home?’ It’s not safe to go outside.”
NYPD statistics show that transit crimes are up 65.5 percent over the first two weeks of the year compared to the same period last year — with Go’s tragic death a bitter reminder of the violence underground.
On Wednesday, a Manhattan judge ordered homeless ex-con Martial Simon, 61, who now faces murder charges in Go’s death, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
The NYPD has now ordered cops to do at least two subway station checks during their shifts, a law enforcement source told The Post Wednesday.
Mayor Eric Adams this week vowed to tackle crime in the subways — and what he called the “perception” of fear — while admitting that he does not feel safe riding the train.
But even a beefed-up underground police presence — something former Mayor Bill de Blasio also ordered — will do little to ease straphangers’ concerns, one police source said.
“Even if we put 500 cops in the subway at rush hour, there are approximately 5,000 subway cars running during peak hours so 10 percent of subway cars would have a cop,” the source told The Post.
“Entry points, then platforms, will always be the best places to control issues,” the source said. “Don’t have to put them in jail but you at least make people think twice.”
Paranoid passengers are still taking no chances.
“You have the cops around but not at the right places,” said hotel worker Ruth Carter-Joseph, 47, who takes the E train into work. “I don’t see them on the platforms.
“They should be on the platforms instead of upstairs because the danger is down here, not up there,” she said. “They don’t have trains up there.”
Another rider, a 68-year-od nurse who only identified herself as Deborah, said she’s also changed her commuting habits when she takes the subway.
“I don’t go to the edge until the train comes in the station,” she said. “Once the train is in there, you push me you hit the train. There is nowhere to go.
“I’m scared,” she said. “I’m older. I’m not able to move fast enough.”
Additional reporting by Tina Moore