No. 7 line cleanest, R dirtiest: Report

The R train has been named the dirtiest line, according to a survey conducted by the Straphangers Campaign. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Philip Newman

The No. 7 subway line to Flushing has been judged the cleanest and the R to Forest Hills the dirtiest at a time when the Straphangers Campaign says the grime level of trains is increasing.

The transit activist agency said in its 12th-annual “Schmutz” report that the number of clean subway cars declined between 2009 and 2010.

The Straphangers rated 47 percent of subway cars as clean in a survey in the fall of 2010, a decline from 51 percent rated clean in a survey in the fall of 2009. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority 2010 budget cut the number of car cleaners from 1,138 to 1,030 and reduced the number of supervisors from 146 supervisors to 123 supervisors.

The Straphangers said the No. 7 subway line had 68 percent of its cars clean compared to the R, where only 27 percent were rated clean.

“Last year, we predicted more cuts to come means more dirt for subway riders,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers. “And, sadly, it turned out to be true.”

The most improved subway line was the M, rising from 32 percent clean in 2009 to 61 percent in 2010.

The N was 56 percent clean, the Q 50 percent, the F 46 percent, the J 40 percent, the B 37 percent, the D 37 percent, the E 36 percent and the G 36 percent.

The Straphangers noted that the New York City Transit Authority conducts its own semi-annual subway car cleanliness survey.

“Transit’s survey showed that the number of clean car floors and seats — those with no dirt or light dirt — ‘in service’ declined slightly from 95 percent in the second half of 2009 to 94 percent in the second half of 2010, a statistically insignificant change,” the Straphangers said.

The Straphangers said the average percentage of clean cars in its 2010 survey was 47 percent compared to New York City Transit’s 94 percent for clean cars in service in the second half of 2010. The Straphangers acknowledged the disparity in findings, but said it was unable to point to factors that come to these results.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, said, “We disagree strongly with the methodology and findings of the report, which does not accurately measure NYC Transit’s ability to clean subway cars. Despite reduced funding, we have managed our resources in such a way as to have minimal impact on car appearance by monitoring car cleanliness and adjusting the deployment of cleaning staff to react to changing conditions. Of course, our customers also play a role in cleanliness and we urge everyone to place litter in trash receptacles.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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