A vacuum car, also called a “Vaktrak.” Courtesy of Ishaan Dalal.
If you sometimes feel like the tracks on some subway stations in New York City are straight up gross, there seems to be a reason for that. Although the MTA’s goal is to clean the tracks every three weeks, a recent report from the New York City’s comptroller’s department discovered that some stations were only cleaned once in the last 12 months. That means the fun vacuum train (also known as the Vaktrak) is quite as rare of a sighting as we thought it was. On the other hand, rats might serve a rather useful purpose after all.
The WNYC Data team has a new tool to track (pun intended) how often trash is sucked up in any given station. The dirtiest in the system? The 138th Street stop on the 4/5 line was not cleaned at all in the last 12 months. Here’s a list of some of the stations that were only cleaned once: