Home New York City Transit Transit adds eight stations to trash can-less pilot

Transit adds eight stations to trash can-less pilot

by Benjamin Kabak

Signs posted in the pilot stations urge riders to take their trash with them.

Amidst a healthy dose of New York City skepticism, Transit unveiled a pilot program late last year that saw trash cans disappear. In an effort to cut down on litter and trash collection costs, the MTA believed that without trash cans, straphangers would simply carry their garbage out of the system with them. While many pointed to those rude enough to throw garbage on the tracks, the vast majority of people aren’t such pigs, and Transit’s pilot program has, according to the agency, been a success.

Now, the MTA announced this morning that eight more stations will see their garbage cans removed. The expansion of the project is still being billed as a pilot. Transit wants to “get a better understanding of the impact of removing trash cans,” and these eight additional stations will have no receptacles for six months. The locations — two stations in each of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens — are a mix of elevated and underground stations that are “average-sized.”

The list is as follows. Interestingly, a few of these stations are fairly low-ridership stops:

  • 238th Street 1 station
  • East 143rd Street 6 station


  • 57th Street F station
  • Rector Street 1 station


  • 7th Avenue FG station
  • Brighton Beach Q station


  • 111th Street A station
  • 65th Street MR station

In addition to cost savings, Transit hopes eliminating trash cans will cut down on the underground rodent population as well. One of the issues facing the MTA involves the removal of trash bags from the subway. Often, these bags sit on platforms or in storage rooms for days on end, creating food sources and homes for the myriad rodents that scurry about underground. Short of an outright food ban — controversial in its own right — cutting down on the volume of trash that accumulates could help control the number of subway rats. Or so the thinking goes.

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Phillip Roncoroni August 30, 2012 - 1:05 pm

I haven’t noticed any issues with litter at Flushing Main St. since they started the pilot there.

Irving August 30, 2012 - 1:34 pm

It’s interesting 238th Street 1 station is above-ground. I don’t think rodents are as big of a problem above-ground vs. underground. Though I can see how this will prevent free food for pigeons.

R. Graham August 30, 2012 - 3:15 pm

It’s not all about the rodent issue. It’s also about elimination of having to remove and transport trash from stations which is a costly business in itself. It’s also about litter and track fires.

Andrew August 30, 2012 - 11:10 pm

Not only is it a costly business, it’s a challenging business to try to run without delaying trains with passengers. Trash volumes have built up to the point that it can’t all be collected quickly enough. That leads to garbage bags being left on platform, which leads to rats.

Bolwerk August 31, 2012 - 12:00 pm

I find it kind of shocking that NYC doesn’t even consider addressing that. The amount of packaging we through out is appalling. Nevermind that we probably produce about as much trash as any American, but I bet we consume more fast food packaging and bottled water and the like.

Jerrold August 30, 2012 - 1:41 pm

An outright food ban?
How could they enforce that?

Benjamin Kabak August 30, 2012 - 1:43 pm

The same way they do in DC — high-profile ticketing blitz at the start and aggressive enforcement otherwise.

Adam August 30, 2012 - 4:56 pm

I got a whole Taco Bell thing from New Carrollton to my hostel in DC in July with no one complaining.

Christopher August 30, 2012 - 5:33 pm

You can cary food on Metro. You just can’t eat it.

Nathaniel August 30, 2012 - 4:14 pm

I’m crossing my fingers that the MTA recognizes the next step in a litter-free system is PSD’s.

Nick Ober August 30, 2012 - 5:56 pm

What’s the word on the potential for Platform Screen Doors at any of the new Second Avenue stations or the Hudson Yards terminal?

John-2 August 30, 2012 - 9:45 pm

Until the 75-foot cars are retired, PSDs on Second Avenue would be potentially problematic, because even if you knew the Q was going to be all R-160s, you couldn’t be 100 percent sure that due to some problem in the system, a rouge train of R-46 or R-68 cars might end up making the trip to 96th Street. Sending one there and then finding out maybe eight of the train’s 32 doors match up with the platform doors would be adding problems onto an already bad situation.

The isolation of the 7 and the uniform length of IRT rolling stock like makes it a more likely test subject for the doors, if the MTA is inclined to give them a try.

Andrew August 30, 2012 - 11:11 pm

But I thought the rouge trains were all retired a long time ago!

John-2 August 31, 2012 - 2:05 am

The R-142s still have some lipstick on the front of the A units…

Steve W August 31, 2012 - 8:35 pm

There will be testing for the new (7) train station at 34 St-Javits when it evers open; its a pilot.

Henry September 1, 2012 - 11:33 pm

Is it even possible for a system to use PSDs without some form of automatic train operation/control? I don’t think anyone has tried it on a system relying on human-only operation, and in any case lining up with the platform doors is not going to happen >.>

Andrew August 30, 2012 - 11:11 pm

The issue isn’t litter; it’s trash removal.

Bolwerk August 31, 2012 - 12:04 pm

They priced just installing PSDs at $2M/station a few years ago. That’s a lot of money to blow on something that probably only stops litter from reaching the tracks.

Jerrold August 30, 2012 - 4:37 pm

The acronyms here sometimes drive me nuts.
What is PSDs?

Henry September 1, 2012 - 11:35 pm

Platform screen doors.

The subway doesn’t even have air conditioning in stations, which is perhaps the biggest single reason that any system has installed them.

Nathaniel August 30, 2012 - 4:40 pm

My apologies, my phone doesn’t have the reply feature.
PSD: Platform Screen Doors

Nathaniel August 30, 2012 - 4:58 pm

My apologies for not explaining, PSDs are Platform Screen Doors

Phantom August 30, 2012 - 6:09 pm

The news stands sell drinks, candy bars, chips. They’d be hurt by a food ban. Which would harm the majority of us who sometimes eat and drink, and who never leave a crumb on the floor.

Removing the trash cans I think is a major error. People still read newspapers, including those garbag-y free ones, and that trash is going to go somewhere.

I travel to London several times a year. Their subway cars are filled with discarded newspapers, as there is no bin at any station to put them in.

Don’t do it.

BoerumBum August 31, 2012 - 10:59 am

This is more of a devil’s advocate comment than anything else, but what if the trashcans were replaced with those newspaper-slot recycling bins?

Henry September 3, 2012 - 10:02 pm

They’d probably be filled with coffee cups and other non-recyclable things, like the recycling cans in other public places.

Bushwicked August 30, 2012 - 9:56 pm

Let’s face it, certain types of people are more inclined to drop their garbage where they stand than others. It’s a small variety of types and we’ve all seen them.
My favorite are the jerk-holes who look-both-ways entering the train and drop garbage between the gap. It’s really pathetic because these Trash Pigs are doing this as if they are sticking it to the… system. Others just kick garbage on the platform onto the tracks.
Removing trash cans won’t make any difference. Getting NYC’s Phinest to actually pay attention to Trash Pigs and issue $200 tickets along with loud media attention would do much more. MTA Lifers should also be able to ticket people but they probably could care less.
I love my city but some of its lazy, selfish citizens should just be dropped into the East River.

Bolwerk August 31, 2012 - 12:06 pm

Removing trash cans will make a huge difference in dealing with the costs of trash removal and overflowing cans.

Some litterers will still litter, yes. This is in fact desirable. We don’t want zero litter if we’re going to have anti-littering enforcement. Some littering means some fines to pay for the enforcement.

Flatbush Depot August 30, 2012 - 11:31 pm

Was that first station you listed 238 Street on the (1) or Nereid Ave (which used to be called 238 Street) on the (2)(5)? MTA’s site lists 238 Street on the (2). Quite confusing.

Proofreading, what is that.. (referring to MTA’s site, not yours)

Flatbush Depot August 30, 2012 - 11:33 pm

I mean, did you find out which of those two stations is getting this trash can-less treatment?

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