Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Transportation Home  |  Discussions  |  Traffic  |  Columns  |  Q&A     |      Twitter |    Facebook   |  phone Alerts

99 percent see rats on NYC subway

By Luke Rosiak

Metro has become the system Washingtonians love to hate, but between continuous complaints about escalator performance, infrequent service, safety and unhelpful customer service, it's easy to forget what the system doesn't seem to be plagued with: Large rodents in larger numbers.

In an informal, self-selecting survey reported by the New York Times last week, 9 out of 10 subway riders said they saw rats on a daily or weekly basis (mostly on the tracks, and generally not on benches or trains). Only one percent said they never see rats.

New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority does not prohibit eating and drinking in the subway system.

State Senator Bill Perkins, who mounted the Have You Seen a Rat Today? campaign, told the Times the connection was clear. ''What we know for sure is the rats are not growing the food they are eating, nor are they shopping at Whole Foods or McDonald's.''

Metro does not allow food or beverages, but the policy is laxly enforced. Nonetheless, the system has seen relative success in preventing rat infestation.

Have you seen problems with animals in Metro stations? How about with commuters blithely sipping a latte or chowing on a burger--or being confronted by officials or other passengers for doing so?

By Luke Rosiak  | November 9, 2010; 9:29 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Metro, Transit, Transportation News  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Thinking of Thanksgiving travel
Next: Traffic safety campaign kicks off


Yes, I have recently seen rats (though not housecat-sized) as well as people eating in the system. No, I have not seen officials or passengers confront anyone about it.

I did see a rider report to a station manager that people were eating on the platform. He replied, "Okay."

It sounds like it is 99 out of 100, not 9 out of 10, who see rats every day in New York, if only 1 percent does not.

Posted by: DOEJN | November 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The Orange Line train I was on last night smelled exactly like a bag of Five Guys fries - which actually is an improvement over thw way the trains normally smell.

Posted by: FeelWood | November 9, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

FeelWood, please report your observation to WMATA. WMATA makes every effort to make sure that every train smells like burning plastic or bum stink.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 9, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I saw rats in the subway, when I lived in New York. Mice in Boston's T, too, down on the tracks (they blend in with the rocks -- same size and color). But honestly? I'd trade "rodents in the track bed" for "trains coming often enough at rush hour to stand a chance of taking one today."

Posted by: EtoilePB | November 9, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Nice Article. I just now got Coupons of my Favorite Brands at

Posted by: chadsilas10 | November 10, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company