It may not come as much of a surprise that a survey of subway station platforms released on Thursday found peeling paint, broken staircases and perilously exposed wiring. And rats.
But what may be surprising is how infrequently the rodents were seen: they were reported in 11 percent of the stations surveyed by the Straphangers Campaign, in the group’s first survey of platform conditions.
The rats, for the record, were categorized under “the bad”; the Straphangers chose 12 criteria to rate the subway platforms. Under the “good” category, the survey found that garbage cans were always found on the platforms, they were never deemed overflowing with trash, and they were usually lined with garbage bags.
Besides the rats, “the bad” also included graffiti, exposed wiring, substantial floor cracks or areas of missing tile, and staircases or handrails in disrepair — each discovered in as many as a third of the stations. But the most prevalent problems, deemed “ugly,” were broken lighting fixtures, substantial water damage and substantial peeling paint; each condition was found in more than half the stations surveyed.
In the past, the group has tracked the condition of subway seats and floors, monitored how difficult it is to hear announcements in subway cars, and issued a line-by-line report card. While this survey didn’t rank the worst stations, survey organizers noted that conditions seemed to be just as bad at some of the most well-traveled stations.