Brighton, Slope subway stations go trashcan-less

August 30, 2012 By Raanan Geberer
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Every transit rider does it at one time or another.

He buys coffee, tea or soda before he enters the subway, gets on the train, and sips his drink during the long train ride.

Then, at the station where he leaves the train, he disposes of the container in a trashcan on the subway platform.

However, if the MTA has its way, there will be fewer and fewer places on the subway system where you can do this.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Starting on Sunday, Sept. 2, MTA New York City Transit is expanding its pilot program to remove trashcans from stations.

Although the original pilot program, which started two months ago, had one Queens and one Manhattan station, the eight added stops will include two in Brooklyn – Seventh Avenue on the F and G lines, and Brighton Beach on the B and Q  lines.

Both are fairly large, well-trafficked stations.

According to the MTA, the goal is to reduce the number of exposed trash bags that would have to be removed from the system and to help control the rodent population in the subways.

“We also hope to decrease the number of garbage trains we have to run, which slows down the system,” said Charles Seaton, an MTA spokesman.

Overall, the MTA hopes to get people to hold onto their coffee cups, snack-food wrappers and so on until they leave the station, then throw them out outside, Seaton added.

When asked whether taking food into the subways is a violation, he answered that the only rule that pertains there is the “open container” law.

In other words, if you drink from a cup of coffee with a closed “travel lid,” it’s OK, but if you take the lid off a conventional cup of coffee and drink, it’s not.

Some people are not so thrilled with the new pilot program. Jason Chin-Fatt, campaign field organizer for the Straphangers Campaign, told the Eagle, “We’ve heard talk about getting rid of trash cans, and we think it’s a disservice to the rider.
“There could be someone who has trash he has to dispose of in a hurry. Gene Russianoff [attorney for the advocacy group] always gives the example of someone eating an ice-cream cone.”

Several interviews by this reporter at the York Street subway station in Brooklyn revealed dissatisfaction with the measure.

“I think it’s a bad idea,” said Jared, a student from Park Slope. “If people can’t throw their garbage in a trash can, it will end up on the tracks.”

Paul, an artist from DUMBO, said, “It’s a terrible idea. I often take food onto the subways, and if I can’t find a garbage can, it ends up in my back pocket.

“I don’t like seeing trash on the platforms or on the tracks.”

And John, a student from Bay Ridge, said, “I don’t see why they’re making such a big deal about the trash cans in the subway! Just keep them there.”

The smaller PATH system, which connects Manhattan and New Jersey, did away with trash cans shortly after 9/11, and claims that the policy is a success.

But not all PATH riders agree. On Yelp, a consumer-review site, Jaime W. of Jersey City wrote in 2010, “The only problem I have with the entire PATH system thus far is the lack of trash receptacles. All of our lives, we’ve been told not to litter, to throw trash in a trash can.”

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