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Queens Chronicle

Subways getting cleaner

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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:17 am, Thu Mar 21, 2013.

The NY Straphangers Campaign second annual “State of the Station Platforms” survey revealed that most conditions at subway stations improved, while others were lacking cleanliness and repairs.

“We applaud transit managers and workers for improving conditions at many stations,” said Jason Chin-Fatt, the Straphangers Campaign field organizer who oversaw the survey. “But there’s still room for further progress. There’s no reason, for example, that riders should have a one in 10 chance of seeing a rat while waiting for any train.”

The group said it couldn’t provide survey information about the condition of Queens subway platforms in particular, or those in other boroughs, only the overall findings.

The Straphangers examined 12 subway platform conditions, including the presence of overflowing garbage cans, large garbage bags on platforms, rats and graffiti, and the shape of lighting, handrails and staircases.

The survey found that most conditions the group rated were better, such as staircases in disrepair, exposed wiring, floor cracks and lighting. Based on the table comparing the 2011 and 2012 survey results, the presence of garbage cans on platforms stayed at nearly the same level. The only two platform situations that grew worse were substantial water damage, at a high of 78 percent, and substantial graffiti, at 27 percent.

MTA New York City Transit performs its own study, the Passenger Environment Survey, for an entire subway station, while the NY Straphangers Campaign survey rates station platforms only.

The Straphangers Campaign said NYC Transit’s observations cannot be directly compared with its own, but that some comparisons can be made.

For example, during the first half of 2012, the NYC Transit PES found 100 percent of the stations had no graffiti or only “light” graffiti conditions. The Straphangers Campaign survey found substantial graffiti at 27 percent of all the platforms observed in the summer of 2012, which was worse than 2011’s 20 percent.

Thirteen interns and staff did observations of all 251 station platforms at 120 randomly selected subway stations between May 28 and Aug. 10, 2012, the Straphangers Campaign said — representing 28 percent of those in the system. Trained surveyors conducted observations during the weekdays between morning and evening rush-hour periods. The survey sought to catalogue conditions for which transit officials could fairly be held accountable and were not overly time- or weather-sensitive, the Straphangers Campaign said.

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