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Straphangers Campaign Issues First-Ever State of the Station Platforms Survey
Conditions Range From The Good to the Bad to the Ugly Based on Survey of 28% of All Subway Platforms
Finds Platforms With 100% Garbage Cans to Unacceptable Levels of Exposed Wiring, Graffiti, Peeling Paint
The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign today issued its first-ever State of the Station Platforms survey, finding conditions ranging from the good (100% of platforms with garbage cans present and 0% overflowing cans), the bad (28% of platforms with exposed wiring), to the ugly (79% of underground platforms with substantial amounts of peeling paint).
In all, the Straphangers Campaign released findings on twelve1 subway platform conditions, including the presence of garbage cans, overflowing garbage cans, large garbage bags, rats, graffiti, lighting, handrails and staircases, exposed wiring, peeling paint, water damage, floor cracks, and missing tiles.
The survey was based on observations of all 250 station platforms at 120 randomly-selected subway stations by 14 interns and staff between July 11 and September 24, 2011. This number represents 28% of the total of 909 New York City subway station platforms systemwide.
Observations were made weekdays, between morning and evening rush-hour periods. A copy of the survey form along with illustrative photographs and instructions are attached, as is the methodology for randomly choosing subway stations.
We found the good, the bad and the ugly, from no subway station platforms having overflowing garbage cans to clearly unacceptable conditions, such as peeling paint at three quarters of the platforms observed, said Jason Chin-Fatt, the Straphanger Campaign organizer who oversaw the survey.
In general, the survey sought to catalogue conditions for which the Campaign felt transit officials could fairly be held accountable and were not overly time or weather sensitive. For example, we did not rate the presence of litter.
In our most positive results, we found:
We classified the remaining results either as bad or ugly.
A measurement result was deemed bad if it was observed in at least 10% of the platforms, but less than half the time. That would mean a rider might come across these conditions one to five in ten times while using these platforms.
Measurements were deemed ugly if they were observed 50% of the time or more.
Among bad conditions were:
Among the ugly conditions were:
MTA New York City Transit does its own twice-a-year Passenger Environment Survey (PES) for subway stations. However, it mostly rates different aspects of the station environment and in some cases uses different measures. In addition, NYC Transit rates an entire station; this survey rates station platforms only.
In general, NYC Transits observations cannot be compared with the Straphangers Campaign survey findings.
Among different aspects of stations rated by NYC Transit are: litter; subway maps; functioning annunciators; escalators/elevators in operation; working public telephones; and working booth microphones.
Two measures may be roughly comparable:
In addition, the MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota has been quoted saying that he would like to take action against peeling paint conditions in stations.
News Release | Methodology
Table One: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly | Table Two: Stations Randomly Selected for Inclusion
State of the Station Platforms Survey Instrument
Download the Full Survey (pdf)