2006_02_freepaper.jpgYou complain about the dirty subways, the MTA complains about the media: The MTA put the blame on free newspapers for giving subway riders more things to drop on the floor and cause track fires. The MTA says that trash pickups have increased by almost 43% (35 tons in 2004 to 50 tons last year), which may have led to the 40% increase in track fires (the Daily News has lower numbers, which we can't quite figure out). Of course, the Daily News and Post love that the MTA is blaming the rise in problems to AM New York and Metro (combined circulation is around 600,000), but politicians say the MTA is being "disingenuous" since the agency has cuts its maintenance crews. Maybe the MTA needs to be better about putting newspaper recycling containers at its stations, like these clear ones at the Jay Street stop. What's interesting is the hypothesis the MTA has about the free newspaper causing track fires - if stacks of the free newspapers are set near a platform edge, the vacuum effect of the trains causes them to be "pulled into the tracks," but it's not just the free papers - many a time Gothamist will see all sorts of papers left on the subway platform (or subway car seats) for other riders to enjoy them. And we're more upset about seeing food and drink on the subway platform. For instance, who the hell left their cereal on the subway platform the other day? Think about that one, MTA!

Last April, the Straphangers called the 1 (and 9) line the dirtiest in the system.

Photograph from The Rappaz Horror Picture Show on Flickr