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New York City Transit: Removing trashcans helps reduce rate of track fires


Removing trashcans from MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) subway stations has helped reduce the rate of track fires, among a host of other positive results, agency officials announced yesterday.

As part of a pilot program, the agency removed trashcans from 39 subway stations. Among stations in the program's first and second phases, there has been a 66 percent decrease in the number of trash bags collected. At Phase 3 stations, crews have collected 36 percent less bags, NYCT officials said.

The program was aimed at improving the customer experience by minimizing the number of trash bags stored and collected, thereby decreasing exposed trash bags that serve as food for rodents.

Although the number of track fires at pilot stations has remained neutral, the rate of track fires is now lower than the rate at stations with trash cans.

The pilot has also resulted in a reduction in rodent activity, agency officials said.

"This pilot appears counterintuitive but when we placed notices at the pilot stations indicating that the cans had been removed and asked the customers for their cooperation, it looks like they listened," said NYCT President Carmen Bianco. "Given these results, we’ll continue the pilot and monitor and collect additional data at stations."

The collection of trash throughout the agency's subway system is a "tremendous undertaking," NYCT officials said, noting that 11 refuse collection trains service more than 300 of the system's stations. In turn, these trash collecting vehicles compete for space with passenger trains.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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