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Survey says MTA losing war against grimy subway cars

By Philip Newman

The Straphangers Campaign says the MTA appears to be faltering in its struggle against dirty subway cars with the D train designated the worst with only 17 percent clean cars and cleanliness declining on several lines serving Queens.

The L train was the cleanest with 88 percent clean cars, followed by the J at 58 percent and the No. 7 at 55 percent.

The report said just 4 percent of train cars surveyed in 2013 were clean, a 10-point drop from a 2011 survey.

The Straphangers reported finding what it called a general decrease in cleanliness in subway cars since 2008.

Cleanliness lessened from 56 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009, then again to 47 percent in 2010. Things modestly improved (52 percent) in 2011 but significantly fell to 42 percent in 2013.

Cleanliness on the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and A, B, D, F, N and Q subway lines declined, while conditions on the Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 and C, E, G, J, L and M lines were almost totally unchanged.

The Straphangers inspected 100 subway cars on each of the 20 subway lines between September and December at rush hour, evening and overnight periods during the week and on weekends.

“Will subway cleanliness continue to suffer as budgets grow tighter? asked Cate Contino, coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign. “We will do another survey next year, compare and find out.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority conducts its own survey of subway car cleanliness, which it believes to be more statistically accurate than that of the Straphangers, which it said used “flawed methodology.”

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

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