Fewer trash cans in MTA subway stations means a reduction in trash and rats in 39 subway stations across the city, the MTA said on Thursday. 

The pilot garbage program has removed trash cans at stations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens since 2011.  

Numbers released on Thursday showed the number of trash bags collected in the stations that phased out trash cans in 2011 and 2012 were down by 66 percent, and down 36 percent in stations that removed the cans in 2014. 

The MTA took out the trash cans to encourage commuters to take their garbage out of the subway with them. Workers remove 40 tons of trash a day from 3,500 garbage cans in the system, according to the MTA. About 50 percent of waste gets recycled. 

The MTA said less trash means fewer rats, though the number of track fires have remained about the same.

The MTA said 11 trash collection trains compete with passenger trains for track time. 

“This pilot appears counterintuitive but when we placed notices at the pilot stations indicating that the cans had been removed and asked the customers for their cooperation, it looks like they listened,” New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco said in a statement.

Results of an audit by City Comptroller Scott Stringer released in May, however, recommended the MTA get its act together and take care of peeling paint, rats and refuse on the tracks. 

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