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.
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