Track-level-trash ads working, TTC says; fewer smoke delays reported

Plastic pop bottles, juice boxes, cigarette butts — these are just a few examples of the kinds of trash that end up on the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway tracks.

Subway riders in Toronto have dealt with fewer service delays caused by smouldering trash on the tracks this year than they did last year, the TTC says. In July, the TTC began an advertising campaign urging riders to throw garbage in the proper bins to prevent those delays. (Evan Michael De Souza)

But, the TTC says, the litter problem is getting better and that means fewer holdups for commuters.

Last year, the TTC reported 260 train delays because of smoke caused by garbage on the tracks. That number is down this year, the TTC says, though numbers have not been released.

In July, the TTC began a clean-train advertising campaign urging riders to throw their garbage in the proper bins to prevent smoke delays. The campaign consisted of posters featuring animated garbage on the tracks saying, “We get blown on the tracks and can catch fire.”

“I think [the campaign] has been great,” TTC communications advisor Jessica Martin said. “It’s a nice educational tool.”

When smoke caused by trash on the tracks is detected, train services and the Toronto Fire Department are called in to identify and deal with the source of the smoke, leading to subway service delays.

To help deal with the trash that does end up on the tracks, the TTC uses garbage catchers, which are track-level cages designed to trap litter that gets blown as trains rush by.

TTC maintenance workers clean out the catchers and any remaining track-level garbage every night.

“It is important that TTC staff and customers work together to reduce garbage across the system to minimize delays,” Martin said.