Straphangers in recent weeks have marveled at the spotless - for now - tracks at the new Second Avenue Subway stations, but elsewhere in the system, the subway resembles a dumping ground. NY1's Jose Martinez reports on the MTA's new efforts to fight filth on the tracks.
They're subway tracks, not trash cans. But not to some New Yorkers.
"I think it's absolutely horrible," said one subway rider. "They should throw their garbage in the garbage cans where it belongs and not on the track."
To better clear filth from the tracks, the MTA has begun testing portable vacuums that can be quickly pressed into service, operated from station platforms and moved on subway trains.
"I think it's a great idea," said one New Yorker. "The average person needs some form of cleanliness in their surrounding."
The MTA began testing the new portable vacuums this week, adding new momentum to what the agency calls Operation Clean Sweep. Since last summer, crews have been cleaning tracks more frequently in a push to reduce track fires and delays.
As part of its latest anti-trash campaign, the MTA is ordering three new powerful vacuum trains, with the first one set to arrive later this year. The agency is also purchasing 27 refuse cars.
Straphangers endorse this new push for cleanliness. What's not to like?
"I would rather to have safe tracks where I'm not in any danger instead of having trash out here," one subway rider said.
The new portable vacuums are being tested at 15 Manhattan stations, mostly along the Sixth and Eighth Avenue lines.
In Queens, the vacuums are getting a workout at 20 stations along the E, F, M and R lines.
"I think it's a good idea if it goes according to the schedules and doesn't mess up already horrible MTA schedules," said one subway rider. "If it's at odd hours, I think it's a really good idea."
Still, many riders are skeptical that the vacuums will be able to keep up with subway slobs.
"I think people are still probably going to throw trash in the subway," said one rider. "It's like littering is a New York tradition."
"People are still going to throw their trash on the tracks, potentially cause a fire at a train station," said another.
The testing is scheduled to last into February. If it's a success, the MTA says it will buy more.