NEW YORK - An ad in Monday’s Daily News reads "Trash Train" - offering subway riders $500 for the best photo of a dirty subway car. The full page spread was taken out by Transport Workers Union Local 100.
"We're putting an avenue for them to send photos and what we would like to accomplish - that no one should be subjected or ride subway trains in them conditions," said TWU Local 100 Administrative VP Nelson Rivera.
The TWU is trying to pressure the MTA to add more subway cleaners, claiming 100 cleaner jobs have been cut. The transit agency also faces further belt tightening to deal with a staggering budget shortfall, but it is not known if new cleaner cuts are being considered.
(Above: Photo submission from CookieMonster28 on trashtrain.net)
The union says cleanliness should not be sacrificed—a sentiment echoed by early morning straphangers at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue station.
"It doesn’t make sense, if the trains are getting dirty and you’re just cutting the staff it’s going to keep on piling up," said one rider.
"I think that the trains are dirty, I think overnight they need to do more maintenance so that in the morning it’s more prepared to be clean and they also need to get people that shouldn’t be on the train off the train because that creates dirty garbage situations as well," said another rider.
The MTA responds that all of its more than 5000 subway cars are "routinely cleaned multiple times throughout the day," and "Beyond that, the MTA is focused on reaching a fair contract agreement with TWU Local 100 and we will not negotiate in the press."
That last comment was a reference to the union’s members now working without a contract.
According to the union, riders have until November 30 to enter "trashiest train" photos on the official website or through Instagram using the hashtag #trashtrain. Under the rules, the photos cannot have homeless people, MTA workers or the faces of a passenger in them.
Staged photos will not be considered.