MANHATTAN — MTA chiefs struggling to keep subway stations clean are considering scrapping garbage cans.
For the past two weeks, the MTA has been piloting a counterintuitive strategy to improve cleanliness at two subway stations — the Eighth Street N station in Greenwich Village and the Main Street 7 station in Queens — by removing the bins, agency spokesman Charles Seaton confirmed.
"People only stay on the platform for about five minutes," Seaton explained. "We do not think that it's unreasonable to ask people to hold on to their trash."
Seaton said the cash-strapped MTA removes about 8,500 bags — 40 tons — of trash from the subway system each day, and it is difficult to keep up with the mounting refuse.
Transit officials are planning to add two garbage-hauling trains to their fleet, but with each additional trash train there is a corresponding slow-down in passenger service, Seaton warned.
The no-bin pilot program represents an alternative approach to the problem of lingering garbage bags, which stink up platforms and attract rats.
While Seaton said officials are still evaluating the effectiveness of the pilot program, which will run for the next two months, the spokesman pointed out that garbage cans are already absent from the London Underground and the New York-New Jersey PATH system due to terrorism concerns.
Asked whether he thought straphangers would be driven to litter if garbage cans aren't available, Seaton said he was optimistic:
"I think it's a very small population of customers who actually litter," he said.