NY Curbed reports that in its latest push to fix the city’s ailing subway system, the MTA has decided to double the fine for littering, the New York Post reports. In a week from today, the state will direct the Department of Environmental Conservation to increase the fine for littering from $50 to $100.
“Littering is not only illegal but dangerous and directly causes hundreds of thousands of delays, inconveniencing millions of New Yorkers,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. In addition to the fines, the state is planning to step up enforcement as well.
Littering on the tracks contributes to track fires, which in turn leads to delays, and has become of the MTA’s biggest headaches. The Post analyzed track fires over the past few years and found that when there were a greater number of tickets handed out for littering, there were fewer track fires.
For instance in 2012, The Post points out that 669 tickets were handed out for littering, and 261 track fires occurred over the entirety of the year. This year however, less than 100 tickets have been handed out for littering, and already 470 track fires have disrupted the subway.
Littering also tends to block the drains in the system, which in turn leads the tracks to flood. If the water comes up to the third rail, then the power needs to be shut off. Water-related delays are the second largest reason for delays on the system.
This latest push is part of Governor Cuomo’s “Keep It Clean” initiative, and will be accompanied by a public awareness campaign about littering. The initiative is looking to support the MTA’s water management and debris removal work.