M.T.A. chief: New York’s days of subway trash cans may be over

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A possibly endangered subway trash can. (johnnybelmont via Flickr)
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Today, M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota said his pilot program removing trash cans from subway stations could become a citywide one.

"It could be," said Lhota this morning, following a press conference in Staten Island. "They did it in London, citywide. They did it on the PATH system ... in all the PATH stations in New York City and New Jersey. And they saw a reduction in garbage."

Last fall, the M.T.A. removed trash cans from the Eighth Street stop on the R and the Main Street stop on the 7 train, just to see what would happen.

The idea was that fewer open trash receptacles in subway stations, and fewer full trash bags tucked away in a storage room awaiting removal, would reduce the rat population, and perhaps also, somewhat counterintuitively, improve cleanliness.

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It would also reduce the amount of time that M.T.A. workers spend hauling garbage.

The M.T.A. says the initial results were encouraging, and this morning, before the press conference began, announced via an emailed press release that the program would be expanded to eight more stations: the 238th Street and Rector Street stations on the 1 train; the East 143rd Street on the 6 train; the 57th Street and Seventh Avenue stations on the F line; the Brighton Beach station on the Q; the 111th Street station on the A train, and the 65th Street stop on the M and R lines.

Following the press conference, Lhota said that if the pilot program continued to yield good results, it might be expanded citywide.

"I'm actually very intrigued by this," he said. "I mean, I look at stations in the morning that have come back after Fastrack that are spotless and clean and you go back at 8 pm at night and there's trash thrown on the tracks and thrown right next to trash cans."