How to Clean Subway Stations: Remove Trash Cans

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The NY MTA will expand a rodent-fighting pilot program to eight new subway stations after initial success from removing trash cans on platforms.

The transit agency removes 40 tons of garbage every day (about 14,000 tons annually). Subway platform trash cans are one juicy part of that. The part that is most attractive to crawling critters. The MTA runs nighttime trains that collect filled trash bags from stations, but while as many as 75 garbage bags wait for pick up platforms, the rats feast.

So to remove the rodent magnets, the MTA has been testing a plan since October to simply remove the platform trash cans all together and replace them with signage asking riders to take their waste with them. Pack it in, pack it out, like camping. And it works. Even if riders complain about it, it reduces litter ... and now the MTA is saying, rodents too.

At the two stations where the pilot has been running since last fall, trash bag usage fell by a half to two-thirds. "Cleanliness improved and there was no increase in track fires," the MTA said in a statement.

No ten stations will get the no-trash can treatment. MTA:

In order to get a better understanding of the impact of removing trash cans from stations, NYC Transit will begin a larger pilot for six months at eight more stations – two in each of the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens – to determine if this program should continue.  The locations were chosen to represent average-sized stations both elevated and underground.  Notices were posted in all affected stations beginning Monday, August 20.  The eight additional stations are:


  • 238th Street 1 station
  • East 143rd Street 6 station


  • 57th Street F station
  • Rector Street 1 station


  • 7th Avenue FG station
  • Brighton Beach Q station


  • 111th Street A station
  • 65th Street MR station