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Hundreds of station clerks, maintenance workers and cleaners also lost their jobs.

Soffin, the MTA spokesman, said the few literary placards remaining on subways are being removed. The authority has not renewed an agreement with its Train of Thought sponsor, the TV quiz show “Jeopardy!”

For a contribution of $50,000 a year, mostly for printing costs, the MTA churned out the placards with ideas from writers, historians, scientists, politicians _ and just about anyone who could spice up riders’ time on public wheels.

Hundreds of the poetry placards still grace some city buses, thanks to thousands of dollars in private funds raised by the New York-based Poetry Society of America.

The current public service campaign will be up for a few months, Soffin said.

Transportation officials are aware of the popularity of both Poetry in Motion and Train of Thought, “and the rumors of the death of literary work in the transit system have been greatly exaggerated,” said Soffin, jokingly playing on the famed Mark Twain quip after a newspaper published the writer’s obituary, “The report of my death … was an exaggeration.”

Soffin said there’s a chance that snippets of famed literature still “might return” to New York subways, but no precise plans are in the works.

“We’ll see how it goes, and we’ll see what’s next,” he said, adding, “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a return of something literary.”

Margaret Davis Grimes, a jazz concert manager and frequent MTA rider, would be thrilled.

While reading the literary quotations, “many of us have felt uplifted and enlightened, have had our thoughts provoked in beautiful ways,” she wrote in an e-mail. “There’s so little in our society now that allows for such small miracles, made accessible as we sit for a few moments.”

Then she added, “Is there any effective way New York City transit riders can appeal these terrible decisions?”



Metropolitan Transportation Authority: