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MTA Plans to Pull More Trash Cans in Effort to Clean Up Subway Stations

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The MTA is planning to expand their initiative of taking trash cans out of subway stations in an effort to make them cleaner, which they say has been working. Jose Martinez filed the following report.

Take out the trash.

That's what the MTA wants riders on the J and M lines to do, as it gets set to yank trash cans from platforms at 29 more subway stations.

"More stuff will get thrown on the tracks," said one subway rider. "If I didn't have a trash can, I'd be looking around. If I had somewhere to go, I might have thrown it on the floor."

It's the next big step in a logic-defying cleanliness campaign that began in 2011, when trash cans were pulled from the platforms at stations in Flushing and Greenwich Village. The pilot program expanded to eight more stations the next year, and the MTA says it's resulted in cleaner platforms with less trash.

"Maybe they're taking it to their work location or taking it home, I don't know. But at the 10 stations, we've seen an actual improvement or a decrease in the amount of litter in those stations," says Joe Leader from the MTA Department of Subways.

But by how much? The MTA says it's seen a 66 percent drop in the number of trash bags hauled away from those stations.

Riders say they've seen the difference on platforms without trash cans, like at 65th Street in Woodside.

"I haven't seen rats in a long time. For a couple of months, it's been clean now," said another subway rider.

But riders at the 111th Street A train station in Ozone Park still see plastic bags and candy left behind.

"There should be a trash can or two so people can throw their trash away," said a third subway rider.

Now lengthy portions of two lines get their turn, as trash cans will be removed on the J from Parsons/Archer to Broad Street on the J, and Metropolitan Avenue to Essex Street on the M.

But riders aren't sold on the idea.

"It's gonna be on the tracks, it's gonna mess up the trains, it's gonna be horrible," said a fourth subway rider.

It's really not that tough to just toss it in the trash can, or to take it with you once these are gone, but riders say that doesn't take into account the number of slobs that ride the subway system.

"Yeah, that's bad. That's not good. We need the trash cans, because everybody always throws garbage in the tracks," said a fifth subway rider.

But it's not a dumping ground, riders. Even as trash cans disappear.

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