Tag Archives: subway trash

MTA reports decrease in trash at subway stations with no cans


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Getting rid of trash cans from select subway stations has made them less filthy, according to the MTA.

In an effort to improve customer experience and minimize the number of trash bags collected, the MTA launched a pilot removing trash cans from subway stations; 39 stations are currently part of the pilot. The MTA found a 66 percent decrease in trash collected at Phase 1 and 2 stations, and a 36 percent decrease at Phase 3 stations.

“This pilot appears counter-intuitive but when we placed notices at the pilot stations indicating that the cans had been removed and asked the customers for their cooperation, it looks like they listened,” New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco said. “Given these results, we’ll continue the pilot and monitor and collect additional data at stations.”

Along with a reduction in trash, as well as a reduction in rodent activity, the initiative has had other benefits. Although the number of track fires at pilot stations has remained the same, the rate at which track fires occur at pilot stations is lower than the rate at which they occur in stations with trash cans. Pilot stations also have about the same amount of litter as stations with cans.

Phase 1 of the pilot began in October 2011 with just two stations. Phase 2 added eight more stations to the pilot in September 2012, and Phase 3 brought in 29 more in July 2014. The decision to remove the trash cans was made in an effort to encourage customers to take with them any disposables that they carry into the system. Trash collection and removal is an enormous task, as each day about 40 tons of trash are removed from the system. Refuse trains, which collect trash from almost all subway stations, interfere with the operation of normal passenger trains as they take up track space.

“The reduction in trash in these stations reduced the number of bags to be stored and, consequently, improved the customer experience by reducing the potential bags visible to customers as well as the potential food available to rodents,” Senior Vice President of Subways Joseph Leader said.  “Additionally, the significant reduction in trash reduced the need for trash pickups in the pilot stations, which freed up personnel for deployment to other stations.”

The 14 Queens subway stations that are part of the pilot include the following:

  • 111th Street (A)
  • 65th Street (M, R)
  • 121st Street (J/Z)
  • 111th Street (J)
  • 104th Street (J/Z)
  • Woodhaven Boulevard (J/Z)
  • 85 St-Forest Pkwy (J)
  • 75 St-Elders Lane (J)
  • Flushing – Main Street (7)
  • Myrtle Avenue (J, M, Z)
  • Metropolitan Avenue (M)
  • Fresh Pond Road (M)
  • Forest Avenue (M)
  • Seneca Avenue (M)

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MTA removes trash cans from more subway stations


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER / Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

An MTA pilot program that removed trash cans from two subway stations — one in Queens and one in Manhattan — to help alleviate garbage problems such as rodents and track fires has been extended to eight more stations.

Last fall, trash cans were removed from the Flushing-Main Street No. 7 line and Manhattan 8th Street “R” line stations. After positive results from those two locations, the MTA decided to add two stations each in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan to the pilot for six more months, starting on September 2.

In Queens, these include the “A” line’s 111th Street stop and the 65th Street station of the “M/R” line.

According to the transit agency, the cans removed last year reduced the number of trash bags by 67 percent at Main Street and 50 percent at 8th Street. Also, the stations were cleaner and there wasn’t an increase in track fires.

“After removing the trash cans at the initial pilot stations, customers for the most part took their trash with them,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

Each year, NYC Transit removes about 14,000 tons of trash from the subway, said the agency. Despite more frequent bag removal, reinforced trash storage rooms and temper-proof cans, garbage still piles up, attracting rats and landing on train tracks, causing fires.

Commuters heading to work and the free papers handed out at subway stops may be a large part of the trash, according to a 2008 analysis of about 75,000 pounds of subway station garbage, which showed that the most common item thrown out at subway stations was newspapers, at 44 percent.

Though trash is an issue, a 2011 Straphangers Campaign subway platform survey found that garbage was not the biggest problem at subway stations. Observing 250 subway platforms, surveyors only saw one overflowing trash can and 15 garbage bags; rats were found on 11 percent of platforms. Problems such as broken lighting fixtures, substantial water damage and peeling paint were found at 50 to 79 percent of platforms.