New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority may ban food on subways after a trash fire caused commuting chaos on Monday.
Litter left on the subway tracks has been a longstanding issue for the MTA. The state-run agency first tried to eliminate the issue in 2012 by getting rid of trash cans in stations. The controversial experiment was meant to encourage commuters to carry their trash outside.
But the five-year trial run of the garbage bin removal project proved unsuccessful, and the MTA closed the experiment in May.
Now the MTA may ban food altogether to prevent commuters from bringing it on subways in the first place. The proposal comes after garbage sparked a track fire that caused massive delays along the A, B, C, and D lines on Monday.
“These fires all start with trash being thrown down there,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said at a Monday press conference. “The goal is no fires, plain and simple.”
The MTA will supply more information about the food ban in 30 days when Lhota submits his plan to address MTA’s “state of emergency” to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
In the meantime, the MTA is increasing its clean-up efforts to reduce the amount of garbage left on the tracks.
The MTA has also ordered three vacuum trains designed to collect and clear garbage. The first two are set to arrive this year, according to a 2016 press release.