|Embargoed for release:||For info, contact: Gene Russianoff|
|Thursday, June 25, 2009, 10:30 a.m.||or Cate Contino at (212) 349-6460|
Subway Car Cleanliness Improved Between 2007 and 2008,
“Shmutz” Survey Finds
(New York, New York) – The number of clean subway cars improved since 2007, according to the tenth annual “subway shmutz” survey released today by the Straphangers Campaign.
Campaign surveyors rated 57% of subway cars as “clean” in a survey conducted in the fall and winter of 2008, which was a statistical improvement from 50% of cars rated clean in a survey conducted in the winter of 2007.
The best performing line in our survey was the 7 in the second half of 2008, with 84% of its cars rated clean, up from 78% in 2007. The worst performing line in our survey was the R, with the smallest number of clean cars at 25%. (See Tables One and Two.)
Beginning on December 10, 2007, a new “line general manager” – Lou Brusati – was appointed with greater authority to run the 7. However, another line with a line general manager – the L – had fewer clean cars, declining from 88% in our 2007 survey to 62% in the current survey. Both lines originally had additional cleaning resources.
The line general manager program expanded to other lines in the past year, but without added cleaning resources. The 2010 budget contains cuts in cleaning staff, with car cleaners going down from 1181 with 155 supervisors in 2009 to 1138 in 2010 with 146 supervisors.
"It is encouraging to find an increase in clean cars,” said Gene Russianoff, campaign attorney. “But we are very concerned that cuts in cleaners will result in dirtier cars.” Russianoff said the next Campaign cleanliness report would show whether “fewer elbows result in less elbow grease.”
The mixed pattern with the 7 improving and the L worsening is mirrored in the overall survey, with 9 line improving (4, 5, A, B, D, E, J, M and V), 5 lines growing worse (1, G, L, N and R) and 8 lines remaining statistically unchanged (2, 3, 6, 7, C, F, Q and W).
The car cleanliness survey is based on 2,200 observations of subway cars by the Straphangers Campaign between September and December 2008.
Cars were rated on 22 lines for cleanliness of floors and seats, following MTA New York City Transit’s official standards for measuring car cleanliness. Cars were rated as clean if they were “basically dirt free” or had “light dirt” (“occasional ‘ground-in’ spots but generally clean”).
Cars were rated not clean if they were “moderately” dirty (“dingy floor, one or two sticky dry spots”) or heavily dirty (“heavy dirt; any opened or spilled food, hazardous (e.g. rolling bottles), or malodorous conditions, sticky wet spots, any seats unusable due to unclean conditions”).
The survey did not rate litter.
Since 1997, the campaign has conducted nine largely similar studies for similar periods. (See attached methodology.)
“We are troubled by the disparities in cleanliness we found, ranging from a low of 25% clean cars to a high of 84%,” said Cate Contino, the Campaign coordinator who directed the survey.
Other key findings of the survey included:
The Campaign urged transit officials to:
The survey findings can also be found on the Internet at www.straphangers.org.