Home Asides Few straphangers ticketed for underground littering

Few straphangers ticketed for underground littering

by Benjamin Kabak

While the MTA’s general garbage-collection practices and straphangers’ general sloppiness may contribute to the overall griminess of the subways, the NYPD’s enforcement efforts, or lack thereof, are clearly to blame as well. As Pete Donohue reported today, cops in the subway doled out just 1812 summonses to those riders who either littered or relieved themselves in subway stations. (The Code of Conduct violation is the same for either offense.) Considering how five million folks trek through the subways everyday, that number is laughably small.

With rats on the rise and track fires a common concern, the MTA Board is seeking for ways to limit underground detritus, and earlier this week, a few Transit Committee members floated a proposal to ban food in the subway entirely. They can ban whatever they want, but the need for enforcement remains. It’s illegal to litter in the subways, but because the cops hardly ever enforce the rule, few people are deterred from their piggish behavior. Maybe the buck stops with lax enforcement after all.

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John March 23, 2011 - 4:16 pm

I say don’t ban food and beverages altogether. Ban eating and drinking. And maybe even ban the display of food and drink (so they don’t actually have to witness you eating or drinking, just holding on to it would be enough). But if you have a loaf of bread in a shopping bag or a bottle of water in your backpack, fine.

And for the coffee drinkers, just get coffer AFTER the subway, not before. You don’t have some sort of right to drink your coffee on the subway.

Berk32 March 23, 2011 - 5:29 pm

First – nobody is talking about banning food entirely (that just cant happen).

Second – about those coffee people – its about time management – telling them they have to wait until after the ride to drink their coffee instead of during affects their time spent after the ride…

Bottom line – banning eating/drinking is pointless. If that’s going to lead to enforcement – just start the enforcement on littering – you can just as easily ticket someone for littering as you can for eating… don’t punish the majority that can eat/drink responsibly…

John March 23, 2011 - 6:56 pm

It’s a lot easier to catch someone in the act of holding a burger than to catch them in the act of throwing the wrapper on the ground. And for the coffee drinkers, too bad. Like I said, you don’t have the right to drink coffee on the subway. You have the right to do whatever the MTA lets you do on the subway.

R. Graham March 24, 2011 - 11:12 am

First – The MTA board got this whole debate started. If you read the story that were commenting on, they’re the ones discussing such a ban entirely proposal.

Second – When did the MTA become responsible for how YOU or any of us spend our time after the ride. Their job is to get us from station A to station B. What we do after that is our own business. If you can’t have your coffee until you get to work, then that’s your decision and your problem. Otherwise drink it before hand. We already know there’s muliple coffee accidents a day in the subways. You can see it on any given subway car floor. The subway ride does not suit coffee drinking well at all. Physics, it’s the main reason for coffee accidents.

Third – Banning eating or drinking is far from pointless. You can solve the litter problem all you want. That would be a great start I do admit because it would at least solve the track fire issue. However it won’t solve the rat issue. If you solve the litter issue the rat issue will only get worse. Rodents will go where the food is. If it’s not on the track then it can be found on the platform in garbage containers from people eating and discarding their food.

It’s a rat infested environment. People get disgusted by the sight of them but you don’t mind eating in a rat infested environment. NYC and irony seem to go together well.

J.Benton Adams March 23, 2011 - 6:44 pm

When I was a bus operator in the ’80s folks would bring on whole meals. Passangers would come to me and complain. What could I do?


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