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Census Of Subway Platforms Finds Many Are ‘Bleak And Dreary’

Rats, Graffiti, Water Damage Among Conditions Tallied
Graffiti at the 137th Street 1 train platform. (credit: Flickr/Straphangers Campaign)

Graffiti at the 137th Street 1 train platform. (credit: Flickr/Straphangers Campaign)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Rats, cracked floors and broken lights are everywhere in New York City’s subway system, according to a new survey.

“Many subway platforms are bleak and dreary,” Cate Contino with the Straphangers Campaign told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

This was third annual “State Of The Platforms” report but the first time the advocacy group conducted a census of all 862 platforms in the subway system.

The group noted that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been focused on major repairs in the year since superstorm Sandy ravaged the system.

The Straphangers Campaign found exposed wiring in 24 percent of platforms, substantial graffiti in 32 percent of them and cracked floors in 39 percent.

“Some of it is safety related, like floor cracks. And some of it is do you really want to be standing in a place every morning for a period of time where there’s water dripping on your head?” Contino told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.

“Staircases and handrails were 13 percent of the time in disrepair,” Straphangers Campaign field organizer Jason Chin-Fatt said.

The survey also found that 82 percent of stations had substantial water damage.

“A few instances of water damage were Sandy related,” Contino noted. “We don’t want to be unfairly harsh to the MTA.”

Rats were spotted at 66 of the city’s 525 underground subway platforms, according to the survey.

“We’re on a rat race trying to get to work and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to see a rat running alongside of you,” said Chin-Fatt.

The rat problem was most prevalent in the Bronx, according to the survey, but sightings have dropped compared with last year.

The census focused on twelve subway platform conditions, including the absence of garbage cans, overflowing garbage cans, large garbage bags on platforms, rats, substantial graffiti, broken lighting fixtures, broken handrails and staircases, exposed wiring, substantial peeling paint, substantial water damage, substantial floor cracks and substantial missing tiles.

“This is what riders experience on a daily basis. This is the way they start and end their day, it’s not really a pleasant experience for a lot of people,” Contino told Silverman.

The Straphangers Campaign sent 20 staff members and interns to rate platform conditions between June 4 and August 21, 2013.

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