If there's no place to dump your trash, will there be less of it?
The MTA is hypothesizing this very idea in an effort to minimize the amount of trash building up on subway platforms -- by getting rid of trash cans.
The seemingly contradictory plan is already in its second week of testing at the Main Street No. 7 station in Flushing and the 8th Street N and R station at NYU and will last two months.
If successful, officials are considering expanding the plan to all 468 stations, which produces a whopping 40 tons of garbage a day.
MTA vice president John Gaito commented on the pilot program:
It's just an experiment to see how much we can reduce the amount of refuse that we pick up. We expect people to bring garbage, but we’d like them to bring less food. ...Food attracts rodents.
However odd the approach may seem, a similar no-bin rule has been enforced for PATH trains for over a decade. A spokesman for the PATH system says "it seems as though there is less trash" but notes that the PATH system is significantly smaller and deals with far less customers than the MTA.
The number of customers a station sees seems to be the key factor in the plan's success. The New York Times talked to two cleaners working at the 8th Street and Flushing stations, both of who have mixed reviews for the experiment. The cleaner at the 8th Street station says he supports the plan, while a cleaner at the Flushing station, the 10th busiest station in the entire system, does not approve.