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MTA may ban food on the subway after garbage fires

Written by
Clayton Guse

Unless you've been living under a bridge, you're probably aware of the rampant issues that have plagued New York City's subway in 2017. From a sweltering F train stuck between stations for nearly an hour to a derailment that gummed up most of the system, the MTA has had a pretty rough year.

A track fire on Monday that led to major service disruptions on A, B, C, and D trains and lengthy delays on the 1 train has new MTA chairman Joseph Lhota considering a solution to the subway's woes: banning food. Like almost every track fire, garbage that pooled up on the tracks was the source of the blame. On Tuesday,  Lhota said that banning food may be one way to curb the amount of garbage on the system after recounting a story in which he saw a passenger spilling Chinese food all over a 2 train.

The MTA has a system in place to remove garbage from subway tracks, which includes vacuum train cars and regular service closures for maintenance. Subway fires have dramatically reduced in the past few decades—there were 5,800 in 1981, and that figure has reduced by 90 percent since then. Still, Lhota wants to eliminate track fires altogether, which means finding better methods to keep the notoriously dirty subway tracks squeaky clean (the MTA already removes about 40 tons of trash from the subway every day).

While a stinky train meal can be frustrating for straphangers, you'd be hard-pressed to find a New Yorker who is willing to give up their train bagel. Passengers could always, you know, act like humans and dispose of their garbage in the proper cans, but we're not holding our breath for that to happen any time soon. 

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