The subway system is nothing if not a dirty, smelly place. But it doesn't have to be so bad if the MTA stuck to its cleaning schedules, according to an audit from city Comptroller Scott Stringer.
The audit shows that tracks in seven stations -- just 3% of the 276 underground stops -- met New York City Transit's cleaning schedule, once every three weeks. More than half the stations got between four and eight visits from an 11-person cleaning crew a year, according to the audit of cleaning records between July 2013 and June 2014.
"The tracks have become appalling garbage dumps," Stringer said at a news conference outside of the F train stop at East Broadway. "The MTA has failed to clean them according to their own standards."
The MTA uses two vacuum trains to suck up litter on the tracks, with a $23 million contract out for three more. But the vacuum trains in use now can't get all the trash, because they run on a low setting to prevent damage to the tracks, according to the audit.
In looking at 33 station tracks before and after a vacuum train cleaning, there were pieces of garbage that stayed on the track bed. Meanwhile, equipment failures sidelined the vacuum trains for 188 days over the year studied, the audit found.