People DO Litter Less Without Subway Trash Cans. But They're Not Happy About It

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(photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

A counter-intuitive subway garbage experiment is yielding mixed results

Five months ago the city removed trash cans at two stations -- the Main Street/Flushing #7 station in Queens and the West 8th Street N/R in Greenwich Village -- to see if straphangers would actually litter less. Thomas Prendergast, the president of New York City Transit, said it's working -- but riders don't like it.

"So we haven't been able to change their minds from a perceptional standpoint," he said, "but from a behavioral standpoint, we have."

But there is one group who are giving the experiment a thumbs-up. "The cleaners that work the stations like it," he said, "because they're carrying less trash out."

Prendergast added that while there a lot of people who think "it's backwards," the experiment will continue for now.

He was speaking at a transportation forum held Thursday morning at the law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan.

A spokesperson for the MTA said the city hasn't made any decisions about whether to end the program or expand it to other stations.