These are R(epulsive) and N(asty) trains

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Now we know what the “R” and the “N” stands for in the names of two of Brooklyn’s key subway lines: “Rancid” and “Nasty.”

That news comes from the Straphangers Campaign’s latest survey of subway cleanliness (or lack thereof), which found that the R and N trains have clean scores of 25 and 29 percent respectively — the two worst lines in the entire subway system, according to the transit watchdog group.

Surprise? Not to regular riders on the second-class routes.

“They’re both nasty!” said Joey McPhail, Bay Ridge resident and frequent rider of both trains. “The reports definitely got it right.”

R-train rider Nina Zaragoza also finds her commute from Bay Ridge, “disgusting,” she said.

“It’s dirty all the time, full of papers, empty bottles, urine,” added Zaragoza, who runs a tutoring agency.

For her, there was only one bright side to the filth: a few years ago, she encouraged her students to write a play about the subway system — and the kids wrote a story called “Stuck on the R Train.”

Rankings are compiled after an up-or-down rating of each car as “clean” or “dirty” by a Straphangers volunteer. The score reflects the percentage of cars that appeared clean.

This year’s ranking for the R and N are a huge comedown. Only last year, the R train had a 45-percent score and the N was ranked 63 percent clean.

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman did not repudiate the Straphangers findings, but blamed budget cuts for “unevenness in results across the lines.”

The spokesman said that maintaining high ranks across the whole system would require about 400 new employees — something the spokesman called “extremely unlikely.”

There was some good news for Brooklyn riders in the report: the D train was ranked 80 percent clean, the best in the borough and the second best in the system.

And systemwide, the Straphangers report found a slight overall improvement, 57 percent up from 50 percent last year.

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Brooklynbobby from Bensonhurst says:
In the morning, coming from Coney Island, the N train is filled with homeless people sleeping across the benches. Not only is the train smelly, but commuters have to stand because these hobos take up all the seats. From Manhattan to Brooklyn, the train is jammed packed. It would be nice if more trains were sent down the line.
June 29, 2009, 12:25 pm
jess says:
The N trains have picked up, I think, since they employed the newer, technology-er, more intimidating models. It seems most pungent in Manhattan though, specifically by the 59th & Lex stop - I always smell (perhaps the same) homeless man urine when I board after night classes.

Yaay, D train. Good for you.
June 29, 2009, 2:22 pm
bob from brooklyn heights says:
Two points:

1. Police should stop ticketing people who put a bag on an empty seat in a near-empty train, and deal instead with people who sleep and urinate on the trains (it's curious how regular riders seems to know the location of these repeated infractions, but police never know).

2. MTA cleaners should be required to actually clean. They are paid to clean, but many do so in a fair lackadaisical manner. Regular riders to and from "last stops" (where trains are supposed to be cleaned) know what I'm talking about. No train should leave its terminal with visible litter or the smell of urine. At this point, any "worker" who isn't actually "working" should be given due notice and then fired. (MTA waste isn't ALL with the "suits") We can be certain that there are quite a few able-bodied ready-to-work New Yorkers ready to take the place of each of them!
June 29, 2009, 5:45 pm
Linda from Out of State says:
This is a shame. I was visiting last year and I rode the R, I stayed in the Park Slope area and I did not seem to notice anything wrong. It was clean when I was on it, but if the conditions have gotten worse, it would be nice if this matter could get taken care of by even part time help. I know that all who ride the R on a daily basis know more than I do, but I am coming back and staying in the same place and plan to ride the R once again.
July 1, 2009, 8:42 am
The Truth from Coney Island says:
Maybe the MTA should get the Cleaners on the MTA's Long Island RR & Metro North to clean the MTA's NYC Transit trains. They are paid about $10 an hour more than the subway cleaners and do way less than the subway cleaners!!
Nov. 6, 2009, 8:02 am

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