NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is tackling trash on the tracks and the danger it poses to city subway riders.
Cuomo took a tour overnight of filthy track beds along the downtown No. 6 line in Union Square to shine a light on what he calls the epidemic of subway system trash.
“We have to stop the trash and the litter,” Cuomo said.
Every day discarded items get whipped up when trains rush in and out and they wind up on tracks where water, much of it coming from thousands of leaks in the stations, move bottles, paper, and other trash to the drains, clogging them, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Cuomo explained the clogged drains lead to delays and major problems, including rusted rails and rotted ties.
And in dry conditions the trash can catch fire.
In July, garbage caught fire on the tracks in Harlem and disrupted morning rush hour service for thousands of subway riders. Nine people were treated for smoke inhalation.
“The amount of trash and debris that comes out of the subway system is literally unbelievable. This has just started, crews have removed 2.3 million pounds of dirt and trash, 70,000 pounds in a single day,” Cuomo said.
As part of the effort to crack down on litterbugs, Cuomo announced fines for littering will double next week from $50 to $100.
“You’re gonna get a ticket for $100 and $100 is a real fine,” Cuomo said.
The subway anti-littering effort is the state’s so taking the lead with enforcement is the Department of Environmental Conservation.
“The Department of Environmental Conservation has a police force we intend to put to use for this purpose,” a DEC official said.
But MTA Police and NYPD officers will also enforce it.
The governor also announced the recent purchase of new equipment, including a power snake to unclog the drains, a massive vacuum and smaller vacuums that can go station to station.
Another part of the effort is fixing the more than 4,000 water leaks that have been identified in subway stations.
Cuomo also said the state is working with Con Ed on power fluctuations, which the governor says are also a major cause of delays.