MTA considers food education program to help prevent track fires

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Stacey Sager has the details on the MTA's efforts to prevent track fires.

MTA chairman Joe Lhota is vowing to step up the agency's efforts to prevent fires on subway tracks after commuters were treated to a nightmarish commute Monday thanks to trash that caught on fire in Harlem.

Lohta is now considering banning food on the subways to help prevent track fires.

"Look, the goal is no fires, plain and simple," he said.

And if that means educating riders about what they should or shouldn't eat while in the train system, so be it. For example, Lhota said he's even seen messy Chinese food.

"Inevitably, the rice fell," he said. "It was all over the place, you know? I want to avoid things like that a lot."

Officials say grimy trash gets caught on the tracks, which can trigger track fires. The one on Monday injured nine people and left scores of others overheated, all while snarling the commute and leaving stations overcrowded and steamy.

Lhota insisted that track cleanup campaigns will continue and expand.

"And new equipment in the form of portable vacuums and train-based vacuums that will run through the system through the night," he said.

Lhota added that educating riders about proper train diet to prevent track fires and other problems in the future is a real possibility.

"It may be an education program about what types of foods really shouldn't be brought on," he said.

Many subway riders, of course, said the idea itself is garbage. ..

"It's like, you're going to become a nutritionist now?" straphanger Courtney Pourgol said. "First you hike up the fares, now you're going to tell us what to eat?"

Still, others argue the responsible thing to do is simply clean up after yourself.

"It's just words," rider Michael Niekam said. "Nobody's going to follow them. You know, be human. Clean up after yourself."

Related Topics:
trafficsubwayfoodmtafireNew York City
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