SUBWAY CARS ARE CLEANER, FOURTH ANNUAL "SHMUTZ" SURVEY OF 2,000 SUBWAY CARS FINDS
NEARLY HALF OF CARS RATED CLEAN, COMPARED TO LESS THAN ONE-THIRD IN LAST YEAR'S SURVEY
SECOND YEAR IN A ROW: CARS ON Q AND G LINES THE DIRTIEST;
M LINE THE CLEANEST
The number of clean subway cars increased in the last year, according to the fourth annual "subway shmutz" survey by the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign. Campaign surveyors rated 47% of subway cars as "clean" compared to 32% of cars rated clean in a survey in 2000. Cars on ten subway lines saw significant improvement (3, 5, 6, 7, C, D, E, G, J/Z, and L), while cars on only one line grew worse (1/9). Cars on the remaining nine lines were largely unchanged (2, 4, A, B, F, M, N, Q and R.) (See Table 1 and Table 2)
"Transit officials have made steady progress in the war on subway grime," said Farouk Abdallah, the campaign organizer who directed the survey of 2,000 subway cars on 20 subway lines was conducted between October 2000 and January 2001.
Cars were rated for cleanliness of floors and seats, following MTA New York City Transits official standards for measuring car cleanliness. Cars were rated as clean if they were "basically dirt free" or had "light dirt" ("occasional 'ground-in' spots but generally clean.") The survey did not rate litter. The campaign conducted three largely similar studies for similar periods in 1997, 1998 and 1999-2000. (See attached methodology.)
The campaign attributed improved cleanliness to New York City Transits decision to devote more resources to cleaning subway cars.
In 1999, New York City Transit restored car cleaners that had been cut in recent years. The move came in response to the campaigns two earlier shmutz surveys and to public opinion.
As of August 2000, there were 1,119 "budgeted" car cleaners, compared to 958 in 1998. The number of budgeted cleaning supervisors was also increased from 88 in 1998 to 122 in 2000. There were 1,234 car cleaners budgeted in 1994. (See chart)
"More elbows have meant more elbow grease and thats meant cleaner subway cars," said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the campaign.
In mid-1999, the transit agency also began having Work Experience Program participants assigned to subway cleaning duties. As of August 2000, 449 WEP participants were assigned to cleaning subway cars or stations, according to MTA New York City Transit; a total of 103 WEP participants have been hired into full-time jobs between December 1999 and August 2000.
Other key findings of the survey included:
The campaign renewed several of its past recommendations, including having transit officials: