Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a bad person for leaving my newspaper on the subway?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’m new to the city, and I read Metro during my morning commute. Am I littering if I leave my used copy on the subway or doing some other bored commuter a favour?
—Paper Trail, Cedarvale
No one would begrudge you your decision to leave the paper behind. Someone might even read it. Either way it’ll get scooped up by the cleaning staff. However, you are creating more work for said cleaners. If everyone did like you, this-close-to-snapping Red Rocket riders would have to wade through ankle-deep piles of newsprint just to reach their seats—and it’s inadvisable to provoke an already hostile crowd. The Metro drop is also unhygienic: second-hand papers are petri dishes for nasal drippings, remnants of breakfast burritos and worse. If that doesn’t convince you, this will: errant papers are the main cause of delays due to “fire at track level”—a spark from the train touches combustible material, and blammo—which happens more than 200 times a year, causing roughly 50 hours of delay. The verdict: let your fellow riders source their own reading material. Besides, the Yonge line from Bloor to Union is now Wi-Fi equipped, so hard copies of Metro may soon be as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at firstname.lastname@example.org
8 thoughts on “Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a bad person for leaving my newspaper on the subway?”
But what if a) there were no other papers in sight b) you leave it on the subway car itself, not the station floor, thereby negating any fire hazard c) you are a clean person and keep the paper in good condition. This MAY be an exception to the rule, but I could be convinced otherwise.
Only the stations are Wi-Fi equipped, not the tunnels, and Wi-Fi in the tunnels themselves is a pipe dream. But, yes, pick up after yourself.
Leaving it on the seat just makes the next person have to put it on the floor so they can sit down. Take it with you and put it in the recycling bin.
All of that assumes that (a) other papers won’t be left on the car within a few minutes by the next crowd, (b) that someone or a gust of air doesn’t toss it on the floor a few minutes after you leave and (c) leaving the paper in good condition can somehow prevent you or the next person from leaving cold or flu germs on it.
It’s littering folks. No two ways about it. Attend my Toronto event Feb. 26. Co-sponsored by The Beer Store.
Thanks for leaving it. I’ll read it.
I am an avid rider and I am always happy when someone leaves a paper behind so I can read it on my ride. Its like take a penny leave a penny. Maybe instead of the next person leaving it on the floor the could try reading it instead of playing a useless videogame/mindlessly looking at facebook or instagram
You’re asking if it’s okay to leave your Metro on the subway? You really are new to Toronto, aren’t you?
Comments are closed.