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Deucey

Once a month cleaning?? Maybe that's why that condom stayed on the F handrail for 3 weeks...

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/nyregion/new-york-today-clean-subway-cars.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fnyregion&action=click&contentCollection=nyregion&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

Good morning on this rainy Tuesday.

In a corner of Queens, the subway cars smell of lavender.

Walls are wiped of graffiti and grime. Poles are de-boogered. Seats are left sparkling.

Welcome to the New York City Transit Corona Maintenance Facility, where subway cars come to be deep-cleaned.

“You see that shine coming through?” asked Corey Skinner, a cleaner, on a recent morning while scrubbing rust off the doors of a 7 train. “We call that bright work. We take a lot of pride in that.”

I recently traveled to the transit depot to answer a question that has been on my mind since my very first subway ride: How does the M.T.A. clean the subway cars?

The process, I found out, demands tenacity, a full body suit and gallons upon gallons of Fabuloso.

Corey Skinner sprays “the smell good,” or Fabuloso, onto a Chicopee wipe before cleaning. Holly Pickett for The New York Times 

Unlike the subway tracks, which are cleaned with giant battery-powered vacuums, or the platforms, which are occasionally power-washed, subway car interiors are cleaned by hand.

Mr. Skinner, 47, walked us through the steps. We watched as he wiped windows, scraped gum, erased graffiti and cleaned dancers’ footprints off the ceiling — with care and special tools.

“The doors are like wood,” he said as he carefully polished them with a Doodlebug scrub brush and a Chicopee wipe. “You got to get into the grain of the door, so it pulls up all the rust and corrosion.”

Our eyes began to water.

“That’s the bleach,” he said. Or perhaps at fault was the deodorizer, the steel cleanser or a Genie Wipe, used to erase graffiti and powerful enough to “peel the skin off your fingertips,” Mr. Skinner said.

The cocktail of chemicals is needed to rid the cars of the residue of thousands of commuters and kill some of the more than 1,688 micro-organisms — most of them harmless — that a recent study found germinating in the subway.

This top-to-bottom scrub happens every two and a half months or so, during the car’s regularly scheduled maintenance, at one of 13 facilities around the city.

Once a month, the trains are washed and scrubbed on the outside.

A subway car entering the car wash at the Corona Maintenance Facility. Holly Pickett for The New York Times 

We can attest that the work drastically improves the subway cars’ appearance, which has slightly declined over all during the last year, according to the M.T.A.’s data.

Maybe it was the cleaning fumes, but the freshly polished seats looked particularly inviting. We even grabbed a polished pole, without worry, for the first time.

It takes three and a half hours for a cleaner, working alone, to get a subway car this clean, Mr. Skinner told us.

It’s solitary work, done overnight, he said, and it can sometimes feel like a Sisyphean task.

“I take the 7 train to work, so a lot of times I see what I’m about to get,” he said.

The train he was polishing was almost ready. Before it returned to the city’s greasy tangle of tracks, he took a moment to walk us though the cars and admire his handiwork.

“I love that smell,” he said.

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9 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

And for all of the days the insides aren't cleaned, I'll refrain from touching anything where possible. lol

I feel the same way about cloth/padded seats.

 

But I don't understand why they can't take a garden hose with soap in an attachment and go to town weekly in the cars (and use heat/ac overnight to dry it). But that's just me.

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12 minutes ago, Deucey said:

I feel the same way about cloth/padded seats.

 

But I don't understand why they can't take a garden hose with soap in an attachment and go to town weekly in the cars (and use heat/ac overnight to dry it). But that's just me.

Likely too many electronics on those trains to do that.  As a kid, the one thing that has always stuck with me was my uncle telling me that they rarely clean the inside of the buses.  I went with him a few times over the weekends when he drove out of then 100th street depot, and I recall a trip that he did going uptown where he told me this.  Likely the M101 or something, and given what I've seen, it's pretty obvious that they aren't. I'd say that they clean the outside of the bus more than the inside, but that also varies by depot.  The smaller depots like Yonkers, they actually have guys that go in and clean the buses by hand (inside and out).  The older buses that they get from elsewhere, they don't tend to as much from my observations. 

As for the subways, I've seen articles like this before.  They must've upped the time between cleanings, or maybe it's just for these newer cars. I do recall that with the overhauls, they are scrubbed down.  I personally think once every two months doesn't cut it given the growth in homelessness and people riding.  It should be a monthly or a bi-weekly thing.  I also agree with you that they need to come up with a better system, but at the same time, power washing sounds great, but that can be a disaster too. They do that with the Metro-North stations, but they do it DURING rush hour when people have their nice work clothes on. 

One morning I arrived to the Spuyten Duyvil station. It's a nice, dry day out, so I'm wearing a pair of driving shoes.  Well I get off of the shuttle bus and see nothing but the whole station full of water. So here are all of these people walking, some women with expensive high-heels on and men with nice shoes on (leather soles and all of that) and the entire platform and inside of the station is full of water. I was furious.  I filed a complaint.  Like why are they doing this during rush hour?  Even if I had rain boots on, I'd still have to walk carefully to avoid falling down the stairs.  Our train was due any minute, which made it more annoying, as we're all holding the rail to get down the slippery stairs. Hasn't happened since (that I know of).

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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1 hour ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

And for all of the days the insides aren't cleaned, I'll refrain from touching anything where possible. lol

Well..... The best you can hope for, are the car cleaners (at certain terminals, mind you) that do their little half-ass sweeping (and on a RARE occasion, mopping) in the handful of minutes or so, before they hear those magical words:

"Stand Clear of The Closing Doors Please"

 

....because that's all they have time for.

You aint getting any wiping down & any extensive sterilization of the poles.... Nope.

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21 minutes ago, B35 via Church said:

Well..... The best you can hope for, are the car cleaners (at certain terminals, mind you) that do their little half-ass sweeping (and on a RARE occasion, mopping) in the handful of minutes or so, before they hear those magical words:

"Stand Clear of The Closing Doors Please"

 

....because that's all they have time for.

You aint getting any wiping down & any extensive sterilization of the poles.... Nope.

I'm even amazed at the mopping. I've only seen it at the Coney Island station, but it's definitely needed.  Anything is better than nothing.

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I’ve read the entire article twice and I never really gave much thought into the cleaning process before. I usually encountered the station car cleaners who, as B35 pointed out, barely had enough time to mop one car at my terminal before the train was ready to leave. I would personally mop my car and cab when time permitted to give the person a chance to focus on the second car. Most of the time my people had two cars to take care of and they usually did the job. The monkey wrench was when a graffiti car showed up. This meant the cleaners needed protective gear and more time. If there wasn’t another train to swap out it meant the train and crew were late before we left the terminal. The cleaner in the article had a completely different job that was substantially more comprehensive than any I ever encountered in my years with transit. I’d really like to know how many people are assigned to do the work this person does. Knowing how transit works there’s probably not enough to make a real difference. Hope I’m mistaken. Carry on.

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49 minutes ago, Trainmaster5 said:

I’ve read the entire article twice and I never really gave much thought into the cleaning process before. I usually encountered the station car cleaners who, as B35 pointed out, barely had enough time to mop one car at my terminal before the train was ready to leave. I would personally mop my car and cab when time permitted to give the person a chance to focus on the second car. Most of the time my people had two cars to take care of and they usually did the job. The monkey wrench was when a graffiti car showed up. This meant the cleaners needed protective gear and more time. If there wasn’t another train to swap out it meant the train and crew were late before we left the terminal. The cleaner in the article had a completely different job that was substantially more comprehensive than any I ever encountered in my years with transit. I’d really like to know how many people are assigned to do the work this person does. Knowing how transit works there’s probably not enough to make a real difference. Hope I’m mistaken. Carry on.

You are absolutely correct -- there is a massive deficit. 

Car cleaning and station environment are always among the first things to be cut when we hit a recession. They don't effect system performance much, are on the bottom of the union ladder, and are basically unskilled, making the investment loss basically zero. Because of that, we've had flat budgets for both since the late nineties, even as ridership and service has increased by millions.

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On 4/3/2018 at 1:11 PM, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I'm even amazed at the mopping. I've only seen it at the Coney Island station, but it's definitely needed.  Anything is better than nothing.

It happens regularly at 242 St on the 1.

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15 minutes ago, Italianstallion said:

It happens regularly at 242 St on the 1.

I rarely get the train at 242nd.  Usually I'll get a Metrocard there and take the express bus.  If I do take the (1) normally I'll get at 231st.  The few times I've rode to 242nd, I haven't paid attention to what was going on.

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