It's a good thing the MTA Bailout saved the W train from saying farewell because it sounds like its neighboring buddy line the R has already had enough dumped onto it lately. The tenth annual "subway shmutz" survey released today by the Straphangers Campaign rated the R the dirtiest line in the system with only 25 percent of its cars clean.
The L Train might need to bring in some Rosie-esque cleaning services to go along with its Roboconductors after dropping over 25 percentage points to a 62 percent cleanliness rating after leading the way for all lines in last year's report. Lines which feature the fancy new cars with their digital readouts and periwinkle sheen were clearly no guarantees for cleanliness as the N also had a dramatic drop, suffering the steepest decline and featured the second-to-worst conditions in the system.
Leading the way in shmutz report is the 7 train which came in as having 84 percent of its cars clean. The J train pulled out the biggest improvement in the study, going from having 33 percent of its cars rated clean last year all the way up to 78 percent in the current report. Numbers across the board were up overall with 57 percent of trains being marked clean versus an even 50 last year.
The Straphangers' assessment provides a dramatically different view than the MTA's own cleanliness report, which most recently claimed that 91 percent of its cars were up to snuff. The Straphangers say that the methodology of the two studies is very similar so they're not sure what would cause such a gap. Trains are broken down to lightly dirty, moderately dirty or a heavily dirty rating—saved for cars with rolling bottles or seats out of commission. That last condition might have led to the declines of the L and the G trains, where commuters had spotted rats and roaches roaming freely inside cars right around the same time the Straphangers were conducting this year's survey.