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Graffiti and Water Damage Plague Subway Platforms, Survey Finds

 Water damage at one of the stations surveyed by the Straphangers Campaign in 2012.
Water damage at one of the stations surveyed by the Straphangers Campaign in 2012.
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Straphangers Campaign

NEW YORK CITY — Subway platforms are mostly in better shape than they were a year ago — but graffiti and water damage are on the rise, according to a new survey by a subway riders' advocacy group.

The Straphangers Campaign, part of the New York Public Interest Research Group, released its second-annual State of the Station Platforms survey Thursday. The study found a decrease in problems like cracked floors and trash bags left on platforms, but also found that graffiti and water damage had worsened since the previous year's report.

“We applaud transit managers and workers for improving conditions at many stations,” said Jason Chin-Fatt, the Straphangers Campaign field organizer who oversaw the survey, in statement.

“But there’s still room for further progress. There’s no reason, for example, that riders should have a 1 in 10 chance of seeing a rat while waiting for a train.”

The campaign observed 251 subway platforms — 28 percent of the system's 909 platforms, Straphangers said — on weekdays between May 28 and Aug. 10, 2012.

The survey found that 27 percent of platforms had graffiti, up from 20 percent in 2011.

And substantial water damage increased from 53 percent of stations surveyed in 2011 to 78 percent of stations in 2012, the Straphangers Campaign said.

On the brighter side, nearly all platforms had garbage cans, and just 1 percent were overflowing, the campaign said. There was also less exposed wiring, fewer floor cracks and fewer broken light fixtures in 2012 compared to 2011, the campaign found.

The survey does not consider issues like litter and whether elevators and escalators are functioning.