Home View from Underground MTA vowing to do something about the rats this time for real

MTA vowing to do something about the rats this time for real

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA will soon launch a pilot program to target rat infestation. (Photo by flickr user Ludovic Burtron)

Rats and subways go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong, and lately, this become some major breaking New York City news. There are fewer cleaners! Rats like garbage! Rats are everwhere! Sound the alarms; ring the bells. Now, the MTA is vowing to do something more than just hang up rat poison caution signs once every few years.

As New York 1 reports today, the authority is going to engage in a Refuse Room Rodent Control Pilot Project . That’s right; when it comes to something even as basic as exterminating rats, the MTA must conduct a pilot program. According to reporter Tina Redwine, the MTA will be “working to move trash off platforms more quickly, and within six months it will tighten up conditions at 25 stations by installing door sweeps, cleaning garbage rooms, plugging up holes and exterminating.” That sounds like something they could tomorrow if they wanted to.

Anyway, it’s comforting — I guess — to see the authority taking rat control somewhat seriously. For now, though, targeting barely 5 percent of the system’s stations seems like trying to put out a five-alarm fire with a shot glass full of water, and I’m sure these remedial efforts will be successful for a few months until the rats adapt as they always do. What follows is the list of stations. Is one of yours a lucky one?

  • 135 St. — northbound B, C lines
  • 157 St. — northbound 1 line
  • 116 St. — northbound 1 line
  • 14 St. — northbound and southbound F lines
  • 23 St. — northbound F line
  • Lexington Ave. — northbound E line
  • Bowling Green — northbound 4, 5 lines
  • Jamaica Center Parsons/Archer — E line
  • Brooklyn Bridge /City Hall at Foley Square — northbound and southbound 4, 5, 6 lines
  • West 4th Street — southbound A, C, E lines
  • Grand Central Terminal Main Refuse Room — 4, 5, 6, shuttle lines
  • 34th St. — northbound and southbound Q, R lines
  • 34th St. — northbound and southbound F lines
  • Canal St. — northbound and southbound Q, R lines
  • 7th Ave. — Queens and Manhattan-bound E lines
  • 149 St. — northbound and southbound 4, 5 lines
  • 167 St. — northbound D line
  • Fordham Road — mezzanine D line
  • 7 Ave — southbound B, Q lines
  • 86 St — northbound and southbound C lines
  • Nostrand Ave — northbound and southbound 2, 3 lines
  • Bergen St — northbound and southbound 2, 3 lines
  • Rockaway Ave — northbound and southbound A, C lines
  • Ralph Ave — northbound and southbound A, C lines
  • Nostrand Ave — northbound and southbound A, C lines

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Ron October 5, 2011 - 5:02 pm

9 train? I think someone needs to update their station listing.

Benjamin Kabak October 5, 2011 - 5:04 pm

Fixed it. I copied and pasted the list straight from NY1. They still seem to believe the 9 train exist.

Alon Levy October 5, 2011 - 5:36 pm

They should just stop using non-union labor and the rats will go away.

Unless you’re talking about the little furry rats rather than the huge inflatables.

pete October 9, 2011 - 10:31 am


Andrew Smith October 5, 2011 - 10:29 pm

I don’t understand all the rat talk. It’s not that I never see a rat in the subway but I only see them occasionally and even then they’re always far from people, generally on the tracks. I never feel menaced by the rats and, while I don’t enjoy them as much as most other wildlife, I’m not all that concerned about greater rat extermination.

Do these things only come out after late at night? Do they tend toward less crowded stations? Am I just completely bind?

Tsuyoshi October 5, 2011 - 10:54 pm

I have seen rats on the platform several times, within a few feet of me some of those times. It depends on the station. You might notice that some stations are dirtier than others. Rats live off garbage, so the stations with more garbage have more rats.

Considering how frequently I see people throw garbage onto the tracks (of course this frequency also varies by station…), I can’t imagine how the rats will ever be eradicated. All the MTA can really do is reduce the rat population by cleaning the stations and collecting the garbage more frequently.

Al D October 6, 2011 - 1:09 pm

That is generally the most effective pest control strategy. Remove the food source and you remove the pest(s).

TP October 6, 2011 - 9:20 am

They tend to be worse at night, of course. Rats are basically nocturnal and don’t like light. I saw literally dozens of rats swarming all over a huge stockpile of trash bags on the end of the platform at the 7th Ave/53rd St D/E station late at night about a month ago. It gets really unsanitary. A woman was bit by a rat waiting on the platform for the J/Z at Chambers Street last month as well (see: http://articles.nydailynews.co.....sit-worker)

Jeffrey October 6, 2011 - 12:22 pm

Are you kidding? I see rats on the platform almost everyday. This is at my 157th st 1-train station and also at the midtown stations I frequent.

Alex C October 6, 2011 - 2:47 am

How the HELL is 23 St on the 6 not on that list?! The south end of the southbound platform has a family of rats living in the trash.

Anon October 6, 2011 - 7:30 am

how does he eat it without ketchup?

Andy Battaglia October 6, 2011 - 10:25 am

I have one more correction. The 2 train never stops at Nostrand Avenue.

ajedrez October 6, 2011 - 10:36 am

A few rush hour put-ins from the Livonia Yard stop there.

Andy Battaglia October 6, 2011 - 10:58 am

This has been my station for 2 years and I travel at rush hours every day and I have never seen a 2 stop there. It’s clearly an error. If anything it should say that 3 and 4 trains stop there since the 4 runs local at night.

Alon Levy October 6, 2011 - 4:18 pm

An NYCT scheduling worker told me specifically that there are two daily morning trains rollsigned as 2 and running 2 rolling stock while going on the 3 route, from 148th to New Lots.

Andrew October 6, 2011 - 10:23 pm

That seems unlikely – it might be something that’s done when there’s construction in the Bronx (the East 180th signal project, maybe?), but it’s certainly not in the regular schedule.

But there are definitely 2 trains that run to New Lots in the morning and back to the Bronx in the afternoon (Andy Battaglia might not see them since they’re going in the reverse peak direction) – they’re stored in Brooklyn for the midday period.

See the note for the 2: “some rush hour trips to/from New Lots Av, Brooklyn”

Alon Levy October 8, 2011 - 12:50 am

I don’t think it’s there in the master schedule, but there are definitely days or periods when it’s done. Not sure whether it’s due to construction in the Bronx, but it’s likely.

Jeffrey October 6, 2011 - 12:28 pm

I have to question their raticide strategy. The MTA is treating the 157th st northbound 1 line but NOT the southbound line? Won’t the northbound rats just scurry over to the southbound side of the station? How could they ever measure the effectiveness of this “pilot program” when they’re only treating half a station at a time?

Nathanael October 15, 2011 - 10:36 pm

Since the rat population is entirely dependent on the amount of garbage, perhaps there is simply a lot more trash on the northbound side?

To combat trash, Transit to…remove trash cans? :: Second Ave. Sagas October 25, 2011 - 12:50 pm

[…] stations cleaner. The measures are outlined in a report presented yesterday, and they include a targeted effort to eliminate rats, the prioritization of garbage collection trains and the addition of more refuse trains and trucks. […]


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