Report Finds Less Garbage, More Graffiti
The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign issued its second annual “State of the Station Platforms” survey, which ound that most conditions the group rated improved, including garbage bags on platform, staircases in disrepair, exposed wiring, floor cracks, and lighting.
Two conditions continued to perform at nearly 100 percent: the presence of garbage cans and the lack of overflowing garbage cans. The only platform conditions that grew substantially worse, according to the report, were water damage and graffiti.
In all, the Straphangers Campaign released findings on 12 subway platform conditions, including the presence of garbage cans, overflowing garbage cans, large garbage bags on platforms, rats, graffiti, lighting, handrails and staircases, exposed wiring, peeling paint, water damage, floor cracks, and missing tiles.
The survey was based on observations of all 251 station platforms at 120 subway stations by 13 interns and staff between May 28 and Aug. 10, 2012. These 251 platforms were nearly identical to the platforms surveyed in 2011, which were selected randomly. This represents 28 percent of the total of 909 New York City Transit subway station platforms systemwide.
Observations were made weekdays, between morning and evening rush-hour periods. Surveyors were carefully trained, the Straphangers noted.
“We applaud transit managers and workers for improving conditions at many stations,” said Jason Chin-Fatt, the Straphanger Campaign field organizer who oversaw the survey. “But there’s still room for further progress. There’s no reason, for example, that riders should have a one in ten chance of seeing a rat while waiting for a train.”
In general, the survey sought to catalogue conditions for which the campaign felt transit officials could fairly be held accountable and were not overly time or weather-sensitive. For example, we did not rate the presence of litter, or temperatures in stations.
MTA New York City Transit performs its own twice-a-year Passenger Environment Survey (PES) for subway stations. However, it mostly rates different aspects of the station environment and in some cases uses different measures. In addition, NYC Transit rates an entire station; this survey rates station platforms only.
In general, NYC Transit’s observations cannot be directly compared with the Straphangers Campaign survey findings. Among different aspects of stations rated by NYC Transit are: litter; subway maps; functioning annunciators; escalators/ elevators in operation; working public telephones; and working booth microphones.
Two measures may be roughly comparable:
– The campaign’s finding-that, in the summer of 2012, 98 percent of the observed platforms had a garbage can and that only one percent of these were overflowing-is similar to the relevant PES measure. For the first half of 2012, NYC Transit found 98 percent of “trash receptacles usable in stations.”
– NYC Transit PES found 100 percent of the stations had none or only “light” “graffiti conditions” in the first half of 2012. The Straphangers Campaign survey found substantial graffiti at 27 percent of all the platforms observed in the summer of 2012, which was worse than in 2011 (20 percent).
For more information, visit www.straphangers.org.