Politicians push to grade MTA subway stations

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Politicians have introduced a resolution that calls on the MTA to grade subway stations.File Photo
Politicians have introduced a resolution that calls on the MTA to grade subway stations.

If the city council has its way, you may soon know how clean – or dirty – your subway is.

Councilmembers have proposed a plan to rate all 468 subway stations in New York City, similar to the grading system used for the city’s restaurants.

The MTA, however, has publicly rejected the plan to grade a system that runs across five boroughs.

“We’re not considering it,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

Commuters, on the other hand, have had mixed reactions to the proposal.

Vanessa Lopierre, a recent graduate of CUNY City College, said she would give the Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens station on the “E” and “F” line a grade of “C”.

But Matthew Lebourne, a Richmond Hill resident, said he would give the same station a “D”.

Lebourne thought the grading plan was a good idea.

“It would give the MTA an idea of what customers think,” he said, on his way to work.

Currently, councilmembers are working on a resolution – in its early stages – to push for the grading system, said James McClelland, chief of staff for Councilmember Peter Koo, who has been lobbying for the grades.

Criteria would include cleanliness, water, garbage and graffiti.

If the resolution is passed, however, the MTA – a state organization – does not have to abide, as it is non-binding.

In that case, said McClelland, the council would strongly encourage state officials to push the MTA into a system.

If the city was to undertake the project itself, they would have to go through a non-profit third party, McClelland said.

Jason Chin-Fatt, a field organizer for the Straphanger’s Campaign, said the organization supported the idea of grading the subway system and holding transit managers more accountable. If the city was to initiate such a program, he said, it should be paying the bill.

“If [the subway system] was going to be graded by the city, they should pay to implement that program,” he said. “It should be on the city’s dime.”

Kimberly Eng, a senior at St. John’s University and a Fresh Meadows resident, said a station with a bad grade would not make her change her normal commute.

“I don’t think a grade is necessary because it won’t change the fact that it [Kew Gardens] is the closest train station to me,” she said. “I’m not going to inconvenience myself by going to another train station that is farther just because it might be ‘cleaner.’”