MTA Has A Zen Way of Dealing With Garbage

Ew. Gross. GROSS.

  • Ew. Gross. GROSS.

Anyone who has ever descended into the bowels of a subway station knows two incontrovertible facts. One: there’s a lot of garbage. Two: there’s a lot of rats. The MTA is trying to work on both of these problems by getting rid of garbage cans in subway stations.

So, the idea is no garbage cans, and consequently no garbage? And no rats?

Hmmm…this all seems very “if a tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, does it still make a noise” to us, but maybe it could work? “If a subway rider has nowhere to put the empty wrapper from their bagel, is it still trash if they can’t put it in a garbage can?” Maybe? This plan also seems like it relies an awful lot on New Yorkers picking up after themselves and taking their empty coffee cups with them out of the subway stations, which, well, we’re not too sure about this. New Yorkers can be gross. This is a city where people routinely clip their fingernails on a crowded A-train. That’s disgusting! Probably even the rats are disgusted by this.

New York Mag’s Daily Intel reports that the MTA is planning on expanding an already existing pilot program to rid stations of garbage cans and, hopefully, garbage and rats. The MTA launched the program last fall in two different test stations, one in Manhattan and one in Queens, “but since the two test stations aren’t a large enough sample, a new crop of eight will be canless starting September 2, including two each in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.”

Before launching the two station pilot program, the MTA defended this seemingly counter-intuitive initiative by citing other public transportation systems that employed a “no garbage cans” policy. However, the two cities mentioned, Washington DC and London, have both abandoned the policy for, well, not working. So, it remains to be seen if this will actually work.

But something’s gotta give. Those rats have become SHAMELESS. I’m pretty sure I saw one on my platform this morning standing on its hind legs and clutching a pencil. I don’t know what it was doing. But it looked very ominous. Brooklyn doesn’t need any more writers is all that I’m saying.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


  1. There is a part of the Williamsburg waterfront where I always sit, under this condo overhang thing. There use to be a garbage can there. They took it away and now whenever I try to go to my favorite spot there is garbage EVERYWHERE. And this is a relatively low traffic area. In summation, now way is this going to work.


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