I struck up a conversation with one of them recently. I didn’t get her name.
The Toronto Transit Commission has taken a more aggressive push back at litter in recent years. Personnel sweep clean each car at the beginning and end of each run.
Now that the transit authority cleans up more, people are messier than before, the maintenance worker tells me. Hmmm. Maybe the TTC publicized this policy change a little too well. Riders are aware of the authority's new attention to tidiness and are confident that litter left behind will be tended to at the end of the line.
That littering increases in the presence of avid cleanup practices is explained in a national Singapore study from 2011. Researchers found that littering increases where there are anti-littering signs and officials visible, a paradox.
My newfound contact says some customers assist and are appreciative. But others stand in the way of their messes being tidied and block her path. Men are the worst offenders, I am told.
Time to set up a new kind of support group.