The London subway stations have NO trash receptacles. The tracks look like this:
The New York subway stations have more trash receptacles than I can count. The tracks look like this:
answer : trash on the tracks causes trash receptacles to appear on the platforms
Clearly the New York Subway needs to adopt the same approach as the London Underground – make your stations so hot, dirty, packed and grim that nobody would even think about eating or drinking there…
Shenzhen and Hong Kong look like London.
I simply love Mike H’s answer. Clap, clap!
London used to have trash cans, then the IRA started blowing them up. So no more trash cans.
Maybe they clean the tracks more often in London (perhaps because they have no receptacles!). Would be nice to see what the difference would be if they cleaned both tracks and then gave the cleaners/trash pickers a week off…
“trash on the tracks causes trash receptacles to appear on the platforms”
This actually could be true. The powers that be notice the litter and decide more receptacles will solve the problem.
New Yorkers deposit their trash on the tracks to ensure that the subway rats have enough to eat. This has unfortunate side effects, notably track fires, which are always enjoyable. I have also been stuck in the N tunnel under the East River when trash caused the brakes to lock up. The MTA has had to modify the brake systems on some new trains to prevent this from happening.
Hong Kong does not allow eating or drinking on the subway, which probably helps. There are several Youtube videos of arguments/fights between people eating on the subway there, and locals who disapprove.
OT – fascinating discussion after the ugly one last night Steven. (I was the Australian asking you about whether the monkey pheromones affecting people’s perceptions of beauty knocks down the rational human assumption in economics).
Please keep posting any upcoming appearances (especially if you’re being followed around by fashion models).
@Tom M, visit the Herald Square subway station on a hot summer rush hour if you want hot, grimy, and crowded. I would like to understand why the NYC subway can be so incredibly hot – is it excess heat from inefficient electrical systems?
I’m stumped. I say we Ask Dr. Science.
I recall someone asked him to explain why her old dryer had instructed her to remove lint after each usage, but the new dryer advised her to remove lint before each usage. Dr. Science chalked this up to the Coriolis effect. Clearly the old dryer had been built in the Northern Hemisphere, but the new dryer was one of those imports from south of the equator.
Ok, I’m guessing we can’t pin the New York/London distinction on the Coriolis effect; I mean, that would just be silly. But I’m sure Dr. Science could come up with an equally plausible explanation.
I think the London tube stations lack bins as a security measure – bombs can be hidden there, and the IRA has done so in the past.
There are several possible explanations.
1) New Yorkers throw trash on the tracks, Londoners don’t
2) The removal of bins causes a change in behaviour- people take their trash with them
3) Because there are no bins the transport authorities need to clean more regularly
4) They clean more regularly for some other reason
5) What Mike H said above.
I think No.2 is the most interesting if true.
The trash receptacles in NY subway stations sometimes overflow, and there have also been issues with the transit authority’s trash collection workers spilling trash from bags or leaving the full bags piled on platforms for extended periods. So there might be a more direct causal link than the effects on riders’ psychology.
Also note that in London (and most other cities) they can clean the stations thoroughly at night when the system is closed, whereas the New York subway never stops running.
FYI, the exact same comparison holds for NY and Tokyo.
6) The tube has not rats but goats
Could there possibly be a substantial difference in the kind of people who use subways in London and New York?
Does London allow food in the Subway?
Does London have food and newspaper vendors in the Subway?
Does London have Subway Riders?
Are London’s Subway rats Packrats?
It is also interesting London now considers to install receptacles while NYC to remove them.
As others above have said the bins were removed from London tube stations 20-25 years ago because the IRA put bombs in them; most of the bins on the street in central London were also removed. I live in London, and from my casual observation what now tends to happen is that (most) people leave their rubbish in a neat pile in the corner. There are also a huge number of people employed to remove the rubbish. I have no idea how many, but in my experience there is a person somewhere on the platform cleaning away the rubbish more often than not. When a train reaches the end of the line a team of about six immediately board the train and remove all the rubbish left on it; they’re very efficient and can clean a train in about one minute. There are lots and lots of free newspapers handed out in central London, and these make up a large proportion of the rubbish, especially during the morning and evening rush-hour. I think you are allowed to eat on the tube, but I rarely see anyone do it. During busy periods the train is so crowded it would be impossible to eat anyway. You are not allowed to drink alcohol on the tube, though.
The answer is easy – it is only a matter of culture. Where nobody sprays grafitti on buildings, there it is unlikely for someone to begin to do so. Where people are not used to litter on the tracks, you look like a total moron if you do so. Easy as that.
They weren’t always that pristine. Bombs in rubbish bins (paid for in part by some misguided New Yorkers) so no bins. Devastating fire kills dozens, so no combustibles left around.
me: yes, the Kings Cross fire probably explains the difference.
My guess, Anob259 is right – the Tube is closed overnight, so can be cleaned more easily. Moreover, this explanation is easily falsifiable – just ask TFL, and the relevant New York body, how often the track is cleaned.
when will the warwick talk be up?
Mike H and Ken B are right, its not a joke.
Suburbs: no weekly street sweepings, gutters are always clean and litter free.
City: weekly street cleanings, gutters are always filled with trash.
A) In my city, many rent and don’t care about appearance of the property.
B) In my city, many people leave flyers on windshields that motorists throw on the ground.
C) In my city, more youth and vagrants brazenly discard their trash in public.
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