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More Newspaper Bins on Platforms

Metro says it has placed newspaper recycling bins on nine station platforms for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks.

I hope this helps with the cleanliness of the Metrorail cars as well as with the problem track fires. The Express and The Examiner, the popular publications given away at the station entrances, are too often left aboard the cars. (The Express is part of The Washington Post Co., as am I.)

If you think you're doing other riders a favor by placing a copy on your seat as you depart, please reconsider. They can always get their own, and too often, the papers wind up ground into the carpet, where they are amazingly slippery under foot.

Worse yet, papers can become part of the trash pile on the tracks. All too often, the trash ignites and train service comes to a halt until the fire can be extinguished. That has been one of the two main causes of delays, the other being mechanical breakdowns. Metro has cut down on the trash quite a bit in recent months, and plans to buy some gadgets that will keep the track trash from blowing into the tunnels.

The 20 new recycling bins for papers have been placed at these stations, where many of the trash fires have occurred: Farragut North, Metro Center, Gallery Place, Union Station, L'Enfant Plaza, Branch Avenue, Greenbelt, Federal Triangle and Farragut West. Bins at other stations are away from the platform level.

We can't put more cars on the lines or add an express track, but one pretty easy way to help ourselves is to carry our papers off the trains.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 12, 2008; 5:31 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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I looked at abandoned newspapers from time to time, until I saw a guy sneeze into his. I don't touch them anymore. Metro riders are freakin' disgusting.

Posted by: yuck | February 12, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Newspaper bins that are between the faregates and the escalators are useless during the morning rush. The flow of people is too great to be able to navigate across course and successfully slot the newspaper into the little opening. Putting the bins on the platform would alleviate this problem.

Posted by: M Street | February 12, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: I agree with M Street's comment. Overall, there are far too few recycling bins for the volume of paper that we carry into the stations. Often, it's tough to spot the brown bins. You really have to be looking. And then as M Street says, it's often tough to fight your way through a rush hour crowd just to toss a newspaper.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | February 12, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I've always been a bit appalled that the Post and the Examiner hand out thousands of newspapers at Metro entrances yet apparently pay nothing to help Metro with the cost of cleanup.

Posted by: Tom T. | February 12, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Of course we blame the manufacturers, not the criminals who are littering.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 12, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Guess what: even the papers dropped in the recycling bin cost Metro money to haul away.

But beyond that, I do think it's reasonable to hold the manufacturer partly responsible for the obvious consequence of its actions.

Posted by: Tom T. | February 12, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to sue Tom T's mom to get that minute of my life back.

Posted by: Josh | February 12, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

M Street is dead on. I often try to recycle my newspapers at Metro Center, I end up having to lean across the faregate to do so. Why not put them on the platform, particularly for evening folks who have their requisite 12 minutes to wait for a train?

I am not sure if I disagree with Dr. G about the tradition of leaving papers behind for others to read. That has been a longstanding tradition on Metro, predating the freebie rags that now get distributed. The Post even published a "Life as Haiku" clip about someone doing exactly that. I am sad to see that tradition go, but I understand the reasons.

Posted by: Joe in SS | February 12, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"That has been a longstanding tradition on Metro"

Hardly unique to Metro. I've seen the same thing done in New York, Chicago, and London.

Posted by: Rich | February 13, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Can Metro put spitoons next to the recycling boxes? I see way more people spitting on Metro (platforms AND trains) than tossing newspapers around.

Posted by: mvm | February 13, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

we don't need spitoons, that's what tracks are for!

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