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MTA to Haul Away More Trash Bins in Bid to Reduce Trash

By Jill Colvin | August 30, 2012 11:42am | Updated on August 30, 2012 11:49am

NEW YORK CITY — The MTA is planning to trash more of its garbage cans — in an effort to reduce trash.

The counterintuitive pilot program, which launched last fall, attempts to cut down on smelly trash bags and booming rat populations by removing garbage bins from stations.

The MTA says that it has seen huge benefits at the 8th Street R station in Greenwich Village and the Flushing-Main Street 7 station in Queens, where it first began testing the eyebrow-raising plan, and now plans to expand to a duo of stations in each borough.

The stations include:

  • 238th Street 1 station and East 143rd Street 6 station in the Bronx
  • 57th Street F station and Rector Street 1 station in Manhattan
  • 7th Avenue F/G station and  Brighton Beach Q station in Brooklyn
  • 111th Street A station and 65th Street M/R station in Queens.

The MTA says that it has seen major improvements at the pilot stations, with a 67 percent reduction in the number of trash bags collected at Main Street, and a 50 percent drop at 8th Street.

At the same time, “We have seen a marked improvement in cleanliness as well as no increase in track fires,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

NYC Transit removes approximately 14,000 tons of trash from the subways each year, according to the MTA.

The latest experiment is expected to last for six months, after which the city will decide whether to continue trashing bins.

While the pilot has earned praise from some riders, not everyone is thrilled with the approach.

“I just don’t think it’s the right way to treat the customers,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, who said it’s not fair to force riders to have to hunt for places to throw out things like ice cream wrappers that can’t be easily stashed in bags.

He suggested the MTA invest in more garbage removal instead.

The MTA, meanwhile, is asking riders for extra help keeping stations clean.

“We’re asking riders who use the ten stations covered by the expanded pilot to be part of the solution by taking their trash with them out of the system for disposal,” the MTA said.