Turns out those free papers distributed on the subway do have a cost.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the free papers, along with newspapers, help flood the subway when it rains hard.
The authority’s board investigated the cause behind flooding in the subway system and determined abandoned papers that ended up on the tracks were partly to blame.
“We have complained bitterly for a long time about what we call the free newspapers,” board member Barry L. Feinstein said. “That was a major problem and cause of a good deal of the flooding.”
One example of flooding caused by the papers happened after torrential rains in September 2004 soaked the city, disrupting subway lines, the board concluded.
The New York City Transit said the agency has two vacuum trains that clean portions of the track. The agency has also increased the number of workers making sure the tracks are free of debris.
AM New York, one of two free dailies, said it hadn’t received any complaints about its paper from the MTA.
“We have an extensive and a very professional distribution system,” Mr. Weintraub said. “When a real problem is brought to our attention, we respond to it and solve it as quickly as we can.”