Place Garbage Bags on Trains

Nudging Up Customer Service: Long-Term Solution

Problem, Classification, and Idea

One of the most common misconceptions about SEPTA is that the entire system is dirty and full of trash. While this is not true, much of it is due to several lasting incidents of customers encountering trash in the SEPTA system. In order to facilitate better garbage collection, garbage cans should be added to the entire SEPTA fleet. With the legal, correct, and sanitary method of trash disposal being, for lack of a better term, right at the customer’s disposal, proper placement of trash in designated receptions would likely increase in frequency.


Adding full trash receptacles to all vehicles would likely be a difficult task. On current vehicles, simple garbage bags could be added adjacent to each doorset. While this might improve collection, however, the unsettling smell and appearance of trash would likely lead to an overall decrease in customer satisfaction. As a result, it is NOT recommended that current vehicles are adapted to support garbage collection. However, SEPTA should ensure that all newly-procured vehicles do contain waste receptacles in each train, trolley, or bus.

Next Steps

  • Speak with operations to discuss the cost of having trash cans on trains and paying for the labor to have the cans emptied.
  • Calculate the cost of retrofitting old equipment and determining if it would be worthwhile to do so.
  • Determine if doing so would have any negative impact on trash collection in stations.
  • Determine if having these would inadvertently attract vermin to stations.