Survey: Subway platforms looking better

Passengers move near a train doorway on the

Passengers move near a train doorway on the Number 7 platform as they use the subway in Manhattan. (Jan. 25, 2013) (Credit: Craig Ruttle)

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Subway platforms looked better last year than the year before, a new survey found.

The survey, conducted by the commuter advocacy group Straphangers Campaign, found that cleanliness, floor cracks, staircase and handrail condition and exposed wiring were among the areas that improved during the year.

"We applaud transit managers and workers for improving conditions at many stations," said the campaign's Jason Chin-Fatt, who oversaw the survey. "But there's still room for further progress. There's no reason, for example, that riders should have a 1 in 10 chance of seeing a rat while waiting for a train," he said.

Of the 12 platform components the survey covered, two grew substantially worse: Graffiti and water damage.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said that over the past three years, the agency has removed 98 percent of reported graffiti with 72 hours of learning of it, and that there's no "empirical data that has shown an increase in water damage" aside from Sandy-related damage. "Water intrusion is, however, a significant problem that is very difficult to treat," Ortiz said. "And even on a day when it doesn't rain, 13 million gallons of water are pumped from the system."

Some subway riders said they have noticed improving platform conditions.

"The platforms are pretty clean -- it's the trains that's more of an issue," said Tiara Cowan, 20, of the Lower East Side, adding that she has seen cleaners sweeping the platforms.

Rob Gorski, 34, of the Lower East Side, agreed that overall cleanliness is getting better, but said that the graffiti problem isn't much of a problem at all.

"It kind of goes hand-in-hand with life in the city," he said. "It adds to its charm."

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