October 26, 2006 — From fires to floods, the MTA says the thousands of free newspapers distributed in the subways each day cause many of the problems that plague the system.
In February, officials blamed stray copies of amNewYork and Metro New York for a spike in track fires. Bundles of unread copies get blown onto tracks, they said.
Yesterday, flooding was added to the papers’ rap sheets.
The drain-clogging freebies were largely responsible for a massive flood in September 2004 that shut down much of the system, MTA board members said yesterday.
The MTA inspector general earlier this year cited the agency’s neglect of its plumbing. But MTA board member Barry Feinstein said the cause was a combination of near-biblical rainfall and litter clogging drains.
“We have bitterly complained for a long time about what we call the free newspapers,” Feinstein said after presenting a report to Chairman Peter Kalikow.