The New York City Subway Is Full Of Garbage

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And we’re not just talking about you, the riders. The New York City subway is full of literal, actual garbage, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is doing a garbage job of cleaning it up.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office came out with an audit report of the subway’s maintenance efforts this week, and the result is brutal. Trash piles up on tracks, stations that badly need painting are going bare (and random ones that don’t need it are getting extra attention for no reason), and the entire system is approximately just a realm ruled by the Iron Fist of the Rat King.

Via the Wall Street Journal:

The MTA standard is to clean each of its 276 stations once every three weeks. But the audit, by the office of City Comptroller Scott Stringer, found that 97% of the stations were cleaned less frequently.

The report states that 88% of stations were cleaned fewer than eight times a year. The audit covered the period covering July 2013 to June 2014.

“The MTA is constantly reminding riders to clean up after themselves, but they’re setting a poor example by letting piles of disgusting trash pile up for months on end,” Mr. Stringer said at a news conference Thursday outside an F-train stop in lower Manhattan.


The MTA does have two vacuum trains which are supposed to clean off the tracks. But better yet, they don’t even work. One of them was out of service 311 out of 365 days, for a simply beautiful reliability rate of 14.7 percent. Three new vacuum trains are on the way, however, though “on the way” is one of those numerically ambiguous notions, much like a measure of distance somewhere between “over there” and “yonder.”

There’s no word, by the way, if any of this has to do with the MTA’s plan to eliminate garbage by eliminating garbage cans, which has obviously hilariously backfired as people just throw their garbage all over the subway now.


Kevin Ortiz, MTA spokesman and also Person With The Worst Job In The World, told the WSJ that everything is going to get better, as funds for cleaning have increased 25 percent since 2008, and funds for station maintenance have increased 29 percent, which is all well and great until you realize these programs have received major funding boosts and all we have to show for it is nothing but literal, actual garbage.

So again, we’ve got excuses and re-assurances which don’t make any sense at all.

But you don’t need an audit to tell you that, as anyone whose ridden the subway lately can tell you that it’s everything looks like crap. Which is great, as the large increase in delays now means you’ve got plenty of time to stare at all of it.


The MTA says that a large part of those delays are the result of you, the people who actually ride the subway, mucking it up. So it’s hiring 70 people to stand on platforms and yell at you to actually get on the train. Which might be a bright idea, if not a terrible allocation of resources.

Anyways, what I’m trying to say is, raze New York City so we can just start over. Because if you don’t die from the garbage, you’ll die from the disease.


Photo credit: Matthew Hurst

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