Bad news bears for all of you who are still stuck on print—the MTA has banned paper hawkers from handing out free amNewYork and Metro papers in the subway, thanks to their contribution to rat-breeding trash piles and track fires.
WNYC reported today that the agency reached an agreement with the publishers of the aforementioned free dailies to kick the human hawkers out of subway stations and replace them with non-human self-service metal racks. This is, obviously, a huge bummer for the folks who are employed as hawkers. "I get my joy from the people," Michael Thorpe, a 50-year-old hawker from Washington Heights, told WNYC. "Saying good morning, seeing the smiling faces. I love this job."
The MTA, which probably doesn't need any more problems right now, says the papers have contributed to the over 1,000 track fires the system suffered last year. They believe more discarded papers accumulate with humans handing them out. Their agreement with the publishers also includes the stipulation that the publications be responsible for tossing unused papers at the end of the day.
Metro has apparently begun to withdraw hawkers, and amNewYork will begin to do so shortly—the good news is, if you happen to live off the Metro-North, NJ Transit or LIRR trains and do want a paper shoved in your face post-commute, hawkers will still be permitted to operate at those stations.
The MTA did not respond to request for comment.