MTA docs reveal how gross the NYC subways have become



New York’s post-coronavirus return to mass transit has been accompanied by a surge in train cars soiled with urine, feces, vomit, blood and more, according to internal MTA docs.

Last month saw 132 isolated incidents of soiled train car interiors, incident reports show — compared to 118 reports of dirtied train cars in May 2020, when ridership was low and the subways had degenerated into a rolling homeless shelter.

The trail of trash and fluids included 27 reports of trains covered in poop, 26 trains covered in vomit, 21 soaked in urine and six cars soiled by blood, according to MTA records.

The spike comes even as soiled car incidents dropped overall in the first five-and-a-half months of 2021 compared to 2020, which had markedly higher ridership until COVID-19 hit, according to official data provided by the agency.

Workers recorded just 1,090 soiled cars in 2021 through June 14, the MTA said.

People use the New York City subway.
The MTA is reporting a number of train cars soiled with urine, feces, vomit, and blood.
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Of the 132 incidents last month, 30 were flagged as “undefined dirty cars,” 10 as “COVID-19 pandemic cleaning,” nine for unspecified “human waste,” and six for “debris/garbage” — including one report of multiple needles strewn across the train car floor.

Other trains had to be pulled out of service because of paint, stray cleaning liquids and, on one occasion, a bed bug infestation, the documents show. The soiled cars resulted in over 25 hours of train delays in May 2021 alone, according to the docs.

At least 19 of the 132 soiled car reports from last month mentioned either homeless or “unruly” subway riders — such as a May 11 incident in which an “unruly” customer chucked dung under the seats on the R train in Manhattan.

Members of the Guardian Angels participate in a safety patrol at a subway stop.
A group called the Guardian Angels have been patrolling the subway in an attempt to prevent crime.
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Transit dispatchers had no choice but to take the entire train out of service at around 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, internal reports showed — right before the evening rush hour.

Another internal report from May 16 said an “unruly” straphanger with bleeding from the head walked from car to car, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. Removing the No. 2 train from service resulted in delays totaling over two hours, according to MTA docs.

In yet another instance of delay-inducing discharge, on May 24 an unruly, boozed-up bozo broke into an un-manned conductor’s cab on a Q train at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station and proceeded to urinate while blasting the train horn, delaying service for 26 minutes.

People with umbrellas enter and exit a subway station.
The soiled cars resulted in over 25 hours of train delays in May 2021 alone.
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Data provided by the MTA show the Nos. 4, 6 and the fortuitously named 2 trains have the highest number of soiled car incidents so far this year — 129, 108 and 101, respectively.

“Incidents like this are unfortunate. They’re unsanitary for our customers and deeply unfair and disturbing for transit cleaners,” MTA spokesman Andrei Berman said in a statement.

“They’re also a reminder of the need for more mental health outreach and social service support in the city and throughout the system,” Berman added.


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