MTA To Use UV Lights To Disinfect Trains, Buses And Stations

Steve Burns
May 19, 2020 - 6:40 pm

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA announced Tuesday it will be rolling out a pilot program using UVC light to sanitize the trains and buses.

The light, which is strobed throughout the train cars and buses, has been proven to kill the COVID-19 virus on surfaces. It’s the first time a transit agency will be implementing the devices in its cleaning process. 

“The MTA is launching the first ever UV pilot proven to kill covid-19. That's big news,” says MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye.

The UVC pilot will launch next week, according to the MTA. A total of 150 lamps will be deployed to buses, subways and employee workstations.

“I don't want to mislead anybody to thinking this is a cure-all. There is still much work to be done, but this is a significant and promising new development,” Foye added.

According to the MTA press release, “UVC light is an efficient, proven, and effective technology for eliminating viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, from surfaces in MTA’s system. UVC is demonstrated to kill viruses in many other applications, including hospital operating rooms, urgent care clinics, universities, and fire stations.”

The MTA says it will continue its usual process of sanitization as well.

The MTA has been working with Columbia University's Dr. David Brenner.

“It's been known for more than 100 years, in fact, that UV light is incredibly efficient at killing both viruses and bacteria,” he said.

MTA UV Light
Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

It's safe for humans after it's been applied, though it only works to disinfect at that moment.

“What we are doing here is reducing the level of the virus in subways, and therefore decreasing the risk of anybody catching COVID-19 on the subway,” said Dr. Brenner.

After evaluation, the pilot's second phase will expand to Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

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