MTA removes J, M, Z garbage cans for study

Cans canned! Trash-can drought imposed at J, M, Z stations

Trashed: Old coffee cups and other garbage gathers under a bench at the Myrtle-Broadway station in Bushwick.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Litter is bugging Brooklyn straphangers faced with subway stations barren of trash cans.

The artificial trash can shortage is a Metropolitan Transportation Authority initiative, which was first rolled out at the F and G station and the Brighton Beach Q stop in 2012 and has now taken hold at all but one of the J, M, and Z subway stations in Brooklyn — in an effort to make them cleaner. The measure is supposed to convince straphangers to hold onto their litter and lower rat populations, which some of the latest batch of affected commuters said is bonkers.

“The people eat their food on the train and then they throw the wrappers wherever,” said Maritza Figueroa of East New York, waiting for a train at Bushwick’s Myrtle-Broadway station. “They are not going to hold onto it until they get out of the station.”

Indeed, coffee cups, donut bags, and water bottles were among the pieces of detritus shoved under benches and piled around subway maps last Friday morning.

Another rider agreed that the initiative makes no sense.

“There are going to be rats regardless, so they should give us the trash cans back,” said Shantel Jackson, from Bedford-Stuyvesant. “People are messy and this is going to be a mess.”

Nevertheless, the transit agency is holding out hope that the removal of the garbage receptacles will cut off rats’ food supply and drive down their numbers along the elevated Brooklyn lines.

“The trash cans were removed as part of a pilot program to study how to reduce the number of exposed trash bags in the subway station and to control the rodent population in the subway,” Authority spokeswoman Amanda Kwan said.

The agency began the initiative in April and finished removing the containers from the 17 stations earlier this month, a representative said. This is the third phase in the agency’s study. In the first, which began in 2011, workers eliminated trash cans from two stops, one in Manhattan and one in Queens. For the second phase in 2012, the agency expanded its efforts citywide, including at Seventh Avenue and Brighton Beach.

The cans have not come back at those stations and some affected straphangers said it is a problem, though it has changed behavior.

“It is annoying,” said Fred Shenkman, who lives in Park Slope. “But I am always good and I hold onto my trash.”

Studies at those stations showed a 1/30th increase in litter, but also showed the average amount of trash removed from the stations dropped from 6.2 bags per day to 2.2 bags per day, the rep said.

Transit honchos have not changed how many employees staff each station and do not plan to, according to the agency.

The only Brooklyn J and Z station that still has its cans is Broadway Junction, where the L, A, and C also converge. Subway Poindexters want more time to examine whether to remove the repositories from the major transfer point.

This phase of the study is supposed to last until December.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
Wishful thinking is not a policy.

Gravity makes all the important decisions.

You'll enjoy that track fire, when it lands there.
June 23, 2014, 7:38 am
hb from south slope says:
Doesn't anyone remember the filth of the subways in the 70s and 80s? People will throw garbage anywhere...the tracks,. the floor..rats were everywhere.

No bright idea to put covered trash cans on the subway cars that are emptied at the end of the day? Or periodically throughout the day?

It has more to do with the MTA not wanting to empty the receptacles than anything else..

People will throw their refuse in a receptacle if it is there. They will not hold onto it on the train, and if they did, the stench would be unbearable.
June 23, 2014, 12:51 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
MTA boseses saving a few bucks so they can justify thier raises, company cars and all expense paid international conferences. And of course the fare will go up...
June 23, 2014, 1:25 pm
FresnoJoe from Elgin, Illinois says:
I Smell A Rat :)

Remove All Trash Cans From The Metropolitan
Transportation Authority Offices
And Restrooms
June 23, 2014, 3:27 pm
John from East Williamsburg says:
Why would trash be generated during a subway ride? When you leave the subway, you should have all the same things as you brought with you when you came in. No need to shed packaging during the ride.

There is no reason for anyone to be eating or drinking during a subway ride. Do hipsters carry huge $27 coffees onto roller coasters too? They might as well, since they don't seem to care if it spills on strangers.

And, who is eating on the subway? What family meal is scheduled during one's commute? You might as well eat a spaghetti dinner during a CAT scan, or fried chicken on the toilet, or an egg sandwich while they're taking your picture at the DMV. Why not allow death row inmates to eat donuts while they're receiving lethal injection?

For God's sake. Can't people stop eating and drinking for five minutes or must consumption be non-stop 24/7, even at times and in places where eating or drinking is not a good idea for obvious reasons - like on a crowded subway train.
June 24, 2014, 4:37 pm
justsaying from Ridgewood says:
John... I do eat/drink anywhere, not all day, and not family meals, but if i have to run from A point to B, and i hadn't had time for a meal in 12 hours, i need it. I'm glad that you never eat while travelling, keep it healthy and fancy.

Do you ever use facial tissues to blow your nose? Do you want to stuff it into your bag, pockets whatever you have and carry all your gross stuff with all the bacteria? I wish good health and all for you, but carrying trash, even if it's your own is unnecessary and disgusting.

Other thing: in some areas where these lines cross, there are no trash cans on the street. So I'm glad again, that i had to carry my plastic bottle through my 40 minutes train ride, and after walk with it for 4 blocks.

I love MTA, they take me anywhere and anytime (ALMOST) but please, stop this nonsense, and maybe recycling the plastic and glass bottles would be just this beneficial on long term. And it WAS way less trash on the tracks before, so this is also NOT SAFE.
Aug. 14, 2014, 3:46 pm

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