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M Train is the Dirtiest Subway Line in Manhattan as Whole System Gets Filthier, Study Says

The Straphangers Campaign inspected subway floors for cleanliness
The Straphangers Campaign inspected subway floors for cleanliness
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By Della Hasselle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — The M train, which will soon replace the V train through Manhattan, is the dirtiest subway line in the system, according to a new survey.

Just 32 percent of M line subway cars surveyed last year by the Straphangers Campaign's annual "Shmutz" study were clean. Overall, only half of the subway cars inspected citywide were listed as clean in 2009, down from 57 percent the year before.

The Straphangers blamed the increased filth on recent MTA cuts to cleaning crews.

"It’s as clear as the grime on a subway car floor: MTA Transit cuts in cleaners has meant dirtier cars,” Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, said in a statement. “And more cuts to come means more dirt for subway riders.”

The M line is one of the dirtiest to ride on, a new survey found.
The M line is one of the dirtiest to ride on, a new survey found.
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Faced with large budget deficits from the last two years, the MTA has been cutting subway cleaners to save money. The car cleaners have gone down from 1,181 with 155 supervisors in 2009 to 1,138 to 146 supervisors in 2009 the survey found.

"With the current budget challenges being faced by MTA New York City Transit, we acknowledge that some subway car floors may not be as clean as our customers expect or deserve," a NYC Transit spokeswoman said in a statement. "However, we will monitor conditions and shift forces as necessary. We also take the opportunity to remind customers to pitch in and help keep the subway as clean as possible by utilizing proper refuse receptacles."

Transit officials said in May they planned to save $50 million by making cuts to maintenance, cleaning and customer service, the Journal reported.

The 6, 7, N and C lines were found to be the cleanest lines, the survey said. 

This is the first year the survey did line-by-line reporting. The cars were rated “clean” if they had “light dirt,” “moderately dirty” if there were two sticky dry spots, and “heavily dirty” if there was open or spilled foods, foul smells, or sticky wet spots, according to the report.

“How will subway cleanliness fare in an age of shrinking resources?" Cate Contino, the coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign asked in a statement. "We will do another survey next fall, compare and find out.”