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No.7 train tops city’s dirtiest list

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New York City Transit subway cars are cleaner overall despite cuts in the number of cleaning personnel, with R trains showing the most dramatic improvement in cleanliness in the entire transit system, according to a recent survey.

The worst decline in cleanliness was on the No. 7.

The annual “Shmutz” survey by the transit activist agency Straphangers Campaign checked 2,200 subway cars on 22 subway lines between October 2003 and January 2004 and found 66 percent of the cars clean.

That compares to 59 percent of cars rated clean in the previous survey in 2002-2003.

“Transit officials deserve credit for making subway cars cleaner and doing it with fewer resources,” said Neysa Pranger, Straphangers Campaign coordinator, who directed the survey.

The C line was the dirtiest, with 48 percent of cars clean, even though its performance improved from 33 percent clean cars last year.

The cleanest were the No. 3 and No. 5 lines, with 89 percent clean cars for both.

The R line was the most improved, rising from 37 percent clean cars to 69 percent since the previous survey.

No. 7 trains fell from 78 percent clean in the previous survey to 54 percent, and the G declined from 79 percent to 63 percent.

The M also fell from 53 percent to 49 percent and the W declined from 81 percent to 65 percent.

The J and Z lines improved from 47 percent to 65 percent and the D from 39 percent to 54 percent. N trains improved from 60 percent to 63 percent and V trains’ clean cars increased from 63 percent to 71 percent. The Q rose from 36 percent to 66 percent.

The E rose from 52 percent to 62 percent and the F from 49 percent to 54 percent. The A line declined from 64 percent to 54 percent.

Pranger noted that in 2003 New York City Transit adopted a “cleaner deployment savings” program, cutting $8.9 million in 2003 and $8.4 million in 2004. Transit officials said the savings would be achieved by better scheduling and not staff reductions.

Further cleaning cuts are underway in 2004 with New York City Transit planning to save $1.6 million by not filling vacancies in subway car cleaning staffs.

“We will continue to monitor the effect of the new round of cuts in cleaning staff,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers.

For the system as a whole, 22 percent of cars were “extraordin­arily clean,” 43 percent were clean, 15 percent were dirty and 30 percent were “heavily” dirty.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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