Last trash can leaving station
By Adam Wisnieski
Trash cans have been removed from the 238th Street No. 1 subway station as part of a pilot program to help reduce the number of rats living in the city’s subway system.
But there don’t seem to be any rats at the 238th Street station.
“Nope,” replied an MTA worker manning the booth at the No. 1 train station when asked if the employee had ever seen a rat there.
“All the stations they took the garbage cans from are the cleanest,” the worker said, bewildered at how the program would help the 238th Street station.
“Where you need to go: 1-8-1,” the worker said.
According to the MTA, the eight stations were chosen to represent “average-sized stations both elevated and underground.”
The MTA removed trash cans from eight stations on Sept. 2 –– two in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
“Trash attracts rodents,” and “No trash cans mean no food for rodents,” reads a sign at the 238th Street station.
The MTA removes 14,000 tons of trash from the subway annually. Sometimes, the trash sits on platforms and in storage rooms, leaving a smorgasbord for rats and other critters.
In the fall, the MTA removed cans from two stations, one in Manhattan and one in Queens, to test the program. The MTA says the trash was reduced, cleanliness improved and there were no track fires.
Oddly enough, the city installed two new trash cans up the hill on West 238th Street at the behest of Councilman Oliver Koppell.
Some subway riders were not buying the MTA’s new plan.
“To push the trash away is not the solution,” said Veronica Graeflin, a Venezulean who was visiting her sister in Riverdale on Tuesday.
Eva Kalme, a housekeeper at Manhattan College who has lived in Riverdale for more than 55 years and rides the train from West 231st Street to West 242nd Street daily, said she didn’t think removing the trash cans would help the rat or litter problem.
“It will help if people don’t throw trash in the tracks in the first place. I see people throwing soda cans on the tracks,” she said.
Ms. Kalme also said she thinks the rat problem is not so bad in the Bronx.
“When I go downtown to other stations in middle Manhattan, the problem is much worse,” she said.
The MTA asks that riders carry their trash with them out of the subway system.
Although impossible to determine exactly how many rats there are living in New York City, some experts have estimated at least one rat per New Yorker (approximately 8 million), while others have said it’s more like three or four per New Yorker.
—reporting contributed by Aimee Kuvadia