stand clear of the closing doors

Study: The Subway Is Filthy, Getting Filthier

Photo: Spencer Platt/2003 Getty Images

According to the Straphangers Campaign, New York City’s subways are even dirtier than they were the last time they checked. A new study from the passengers’ advocacy group claims that only 42 percent of 2,000 train cars surveyed are without “schmutz” (defined here as “dingy floors,” spilled food, and “sticky spots” both wet and dry.) That’s a 10 percent decrease from 2011, when the Straphangers considered 52 percent of the cars to be clean. The D train is said to be the worst, which makes sense because D stands for dirty: 83 percent of the orange express line was covered in grossness. Somehow, 63 percent of the consistently packed L train’s cars were deemed clean.

Meanwhile, the MTA claims its own regular studies show that cars are clean an “average of 92 percent a time,” for a 2 percent rise in cleanliness. An agency statement blamed the discrepancy between its findings and those of the Straphangers on methodology: “It’s like telling someone their teeth are dirty because they haven’t brushed this morning,” said the MTA, which noted that cars “are cleaned regularly at terminals, and more thoroughly at yards,” where there’s no one around to see them.

The Subway Is Filthy, Getting Filthier