Report: Bay Ridge’s lone subway train is a reeky rail

Report: Bay Ridge’s lone subway train is a reeky rail
Photo by Tom Callan

Bay Ridge’s only subway line has been named the dirtiest in the transit system.

The R train has the fewest number of “clean” cars at just 27 percent according to “Subway Shmutz,” an annual survey taken by the Straphangers Campaign, a transit advocacy group.

“Our surveyors found that the R trains were moderately or heavily dirty,” said Cate Contino, coordinator of the study. “Some of our findings indicated the seats were unusable.”

It’s a big come down for the R train, which wasn’t exactly clean in the 2009 version of the same survey, when 37 percent of its cars were rated “generally clean.”

The surveyors do not rate liter but do rate the cleanliness of train seats and floors, and look to see if either is marked with sticky material such as gum or drink residue, exposed food, rolling bottles or wet spots. If a train car has any of these signs it will receive a poor rating.

The group says it follows the same guidelines as the MTA, which conducts its own semi-annual subway car cleanliness survey.

But the transit agency says it disagrees with the methodology and findings in the survey, and that it does not accurately measure New York City Transit’s ability to clean subway cars.

Riders are siding with the watchdog group over this reeky rail.

“I definitely believe the R train is the dirtiest train,” said Jamie Austin who was waiting at the 86th Street stop in Bay Rige. “I see everything on this train from coffee spills to urine.”

And Austin wasn’t alone in her observation.

“It’s absolutely true,” said Roselee Huff from Bensonurst. “I take the R to the N train and the N is so much better, not just with speed, but also cleanliness.”

The car cleanliness survey is based on 2,000 observations of subway cars between September 14 and November 20.

Contino says the group isn’t trying to attack the MTA, just make the agency aware of its filthy floors and sticky seats.

“We’re not in the blame game,” said Contino. “We understand the agency has lost money, but we need to make them aware of their trains.”

The R train was just named the dirtiest in the subway system. This worker is fighting a Sisyphean battle.
Photo by Tom Callan