Will Removing Trash Cans From Subway Stations Make Them Cleaner?

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What's he supposed to do with this?
What's he supposed to do with this? Photo: Jill Weiner

Apparently, the MTA launched what the Times generously referred to as a "counterintuitive plan" in the last few weeks: Removing all the trash cans from two subway stations in an effort to cut down on passenger delays caused by late-night garbage trains. And, while everyone knows there's nothing more frustrating than watching one of those things snake by the platform at 3 a.m., the concept starts to sound a little frightening when you consider this:


The idea is to reduce the load on the authority’s overtaxed garbage crew, which is struggling to complete its daily rounds of clearing out 40 tons of trash from the system.


But it also offers a novel experiment: will New Yorkers stop throwing things away in the subway if there is no place to put them?

No, they will obviously just throw them onto the tracks until no trains — garbage or otherwise — can go anywhere at all. Because, as one skeptical rider put it, "Nobody wants to walk around with trash in their hand.”

A Counterintuitive Trash Plan: Remove Bins in Subway Stations [NYT]