What Lies Beneath: NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign’s State of the Station Platforms

The horrors that await would make one Mister Kurtz whisper a fearful farewell. (Getty)

Just days ago, a poll from Transportation Alternatives found that 61 percent of mass transit riders believe their commutes have worsened since 2009. While some don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump ‘n grind, for many, the train ride home is a stirpot of awkward touching and uncomfortable emotions reminiscent of their high school days. But are these teenage flashbacks the worst that the subway system has in store for its passengers?

NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign says ‘yes and no’ with their first-ever “State of the Station Platforms” survey. The survey studied 250 subway platforms from 112 stations (about 28% of all in New York) and examined twelve conditions that range from overflowing garbage bins to rats to exposed wiring. The findings were then sorted into “the good,” “the bad” and “the ugly”:

The Good:

  • 100% of surveyed platforms had garbage cans
  • 1 of 249 garbage cans were overflowing

The Bad:

  • 11% of the platforms had rats observed
  • 20% of the walls and stairways had graffiti
  • 28% had exposed wiring

The Ugly:

  • 50% had broken light fixtures
  • 79% had peeling paint

(The full report can be found here.)

The Campaign further notes that the MTA does “its own twice-a-year Passenger Environment Survey (PES) for subway stations.” The studies are quite different, though, as the MTA surveys for availability of subway maps, working telephones, functioning elevators and assorted mechanical devices.