Transit union launches ‘#trashtrain’ contest for angry NYC subway riders fed up with filth

If you see a filthy train car like this one during your commute, the TWU Local 100 wants you to snap a photo and enter it into their "Trash Train" contest. (Photo courtesy of TWU Local 100)

The union representing MTA subway and bus workers wants pictures of your dirty subway car. 

TWU Local 100 is offering a $500 prize to the commuter who submits a photo of the most disgusting subway train through its new #trashtrain contest. Contestants must submit photos to the union’s trashtrain.net website. 

The nasty contest is a novel approach to highlighting union issues as TWU Local 100 continues an even nastier contract negotiation with the MTA. Union workers have been clocking in without a contract since this spring. 

“Since the authority is not listening to the union, they should hear from the riding public. It’s not a secret; these trains are a lot dirtier,” said Nelson Rivera, the administrative vice president at the union and veteran car inspector at the MTA. “I’m not talking just trash. I’m talking feces, blood, vomit — all that kind of stuff.”

The union will run the contest through the end of November, when it will announce its winner. 

Rivera said subway trains have gotten dirtier over the last decade as the MTA executed cuts to cleaning crews and schedules. The issue has been compounded by the city’s homeless crisis, which has forced more people to seek shelter underground, he said. 

“Maybe they’ll see this and invest the money in the right places,” Rivera added, of the MTA. 

The transit authority runs nearly 600 trains through its subway system every day. MTA Spokesman Tim Minton said the authority took cleaning each of those trains seriously.

“All 591 MTA subway trains in service every day — more than 5,000 train cars — are routinely cleaned multiple times throughout the day,” Minton said in a statement. “NYC Transit mobile wash teams and daily cleaning staff are deployed to all 473 NYC Transit stations to address platforms. Beyond that, the MTA is focused on reaching a fair contract agreement with TWU Local 100 and we will not negotiate in the press.”

Vincent Barone