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Straphangers Campaign Report Shows Poor Conditions At Many Subway Stations

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No one would ever describe subway platforms as cheery, but a new report says most in the system are downright dreary. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

The trash is overflowing , the paint's peeling, and the rats sometimes come out of hiding.

A new Straphangers Campaign review of every subway platform in the city says that's what riders have to endure at some stations.

"This is what riders experience on a daily basis," said Cate Contino of Straphangers Campaign. "This is the way they start and end their day. It's not really a pleasant experience for a lot of people."

The group found that 82 percent of the 525 underground platforms suffer from substantial water damage, and that 74 percent of those have peeling paint.

While overflowing trash cans were spotted at just 30 of the 862 platforms system-wide, there were bigger problems with broken light fixtures, exposed wiring and missing tiles.

Rats made appearances on 66 underground platforms, the group found.

"You're on a rat race trying to get to work, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to see a rat running alongside of you," said Jason Chin-Fatt of Straphangers Campaign. "Areas like broken light fixtures on the subway platforms makes it pretty dark and dreary."

The MTA said it repaired more than 39,000 defects like those in stations in 2012, and that more than 53,000 should be fixed this year.

While platforms at some subway stations sparkle, at least in the New York sense of the word, at the Chambers Street station on the J and Z line, riders say they feel like they've stepped back in time. The station has missing tiles, water damage and few fans.

"It's disgusting," said one person. "The poles are all chipped. It's gross. There's rats everywhere. I don't even know why I'm paying so much."

"You can see where the water come down from the upper level or the street," said another. "It's been like this for years."

The MTA says that service and safety, not pretty surroundings, are its priorities.

"The elements outlined in the Straphangers report would be incredibly costly to maintain in pristine, perfect condition," said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

Replacing missing tiles near train tracks, for instance, would require taking that track out of service.

"We make those repairs when we need to as part of an overall station rehab project, but we can't go in there every other day to fix a missing tile," Ortiz said. "It wouldn't make any sense."

So deal with it, riders. You are, after all, gritty New Yorkers.

Got A Transit Tip?

Do you have a news tip or story idea about the city's transit systems? Send an email to NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez.

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