NEW YORK—The MTA, reporting positive results over the past several months, will expand its pilot program of trash-free subway stations by adding eight more stations from Sept. 2.
Two stations in each of the four boroughs serviced by the subway system—Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx—will have trash cans removed, assisting the MTA in determining if the program should continue.
The program was originally launched to reduce the number of “exposed trash bags that would have to be removed from the system and to help control the rodent population in the subway,” according to a MTA release.
“The results are, it did reduce trash,” MTA CEO and Chairman Joseph Lhota said on Thursday, adding that the program could expand citywide. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in its PATH stations, and the London underground, both removed all trash cans due to fear of bombs being placed inside the cans. Both systems have reported positive results, including less trash.
“It was initially for security concerns,” said Ron Marsico, spokesman for the Port Authority. “A secondary benefit [is] the stations remain pretty clean.”
• 238th Street, No. 1 line
• East 143rd Street, No. 6 line
• 57th Street, F line
• Rector Street, No. 1 line
• 7th Avenue, F, G lines
• Brighton Beach, Q line
• 111th Street, A line
• 65th Street, M, R line
But, Marsico said the PATH has 17 stations and a weekly ridership of 246,890; a far cry from the MTA’s subway system, which has 468 stations and a weekly ridership of 5.3 million.
The MTA pilot program began last fall, with cans removed from the Eighth Street R/N station and the end of the No. 7 line in Flushing. So far, at those stations, the number of trash bags was reduced by 67 percent for the latter and 60 percent at Eighth Street, with improved cleanliness, according to the MTA.
“I look at stations in the morning that have come back after Fastrack that are spotless and clean, and you go back at eight o’clock at night, and there’s trash thrown on the tracks and thrown right next to trash cans,” said Lhota. “I think we need to have an education program for everybody on the stands to treat the subway system how you would treat your home.”
Yolanda Soto, who lives on Coney Island and was waiting for a train at the Eight Street N/R-line station on Thursday, was not happy with the lack of trash cans. “It’s horrible,” she said, holding a coke can. “I’ll get upset and I’ll put the can right over there,” she added, motioning to the platform.
Hyonjong Lee, a student at Midtown’s American Language Communication Center, was unperturbed at the 57th Street F-line station, where the trash cans had already vanished. “For me, maybe I will hold my trash [until I get out of the subway],” she said.
Meanwhile, William Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, said there are some stations where it might make sense to remove trash cans, such as ones where it’s hard to get the trash out or end of the line stations.
But, “I don’t think you can do this system wide by any means,” he said. “People deserve some level of convenience. New York people are used to seeing trash cans around where they can get rid of things once they’re done with what’s contained within them.”
The MTA wants riders to dispose of their trash in trash cans on the street or other areas. During the next six months, the 10 stations will be monitored and the results of the program expansion analyzed.
With reporting by Kristen Meriwether
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