The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced plans to clean and disinfect all subway cars in New York City with the use of ultraviolet (UV) lamps.
According to the official press release, this initiative is part of a larger cleaning operation that will effectively close the Big Apple’s subway from 1 A.M. to 5 A.M., starting this Wednesday, May 6.
The purpose of the subway closure is to allow the MTA to not only clean and disinfect every subway car on a nightly basis, but also do the same for every station, as noted by the public agency’s official Twitter page.
Starting Wednesday (late night Tuesday), May 6, there will be no subway service and every station will be closed from 1-5 am, nightly, so we can clean and disinfect trains and stations.
????????https://t.co/TlHkJxGjP0 will be your resource for how to travel during this period. ????
— NYCT Subway. Stay Home. Stop the Spread. (@NYCTSubway) May 4, 2020
Effectiveness of UV lamps
Last month, MTA had collaborated with Columbia University, as well as with a UV startup, in order to explore the ways in which UV tech can be used to kill the coronavirus.
That partnership has now resulted in a pilot program that will launch this week, starting with subway cars and stations under the streets of New York City.
Using ultraviolet light to exterminate viruses is nothing new. As a matter of fact, the method is already being used to disinfect surgical rooms in hospitals.
This time around, the MTA is leveraging that same technology in order to clean subway cars as well as station facilities, including restrooms, offices, operation centers, and other fixed locations.
Per MTA, if the pilot program is successful, it will likely increase the scope of the initiative in the near future.
The MTA is also making use of antimicrobial biostats in disinfecting surfaces inside subway cars and station facilities. The protocol calls for applying an EPA-registered disinfectant on all surfaces and then followed by the antimicrobial biostats.
This basically creates an invisible and scentless coating on surfaces that prevents viruses and other germs from surviving.
MTA cleaners will be using squirt bottles, fabric, mechanical and electrostatic sprayers, and floggers in deploying the antimicrobial biostats.
Starting Wednesday, May 6, we’re pausing Subway service 1-5 a.m. nightly to disinfect every car every 24 hours. It’s a massive undertaking, but it’s what our employees and essential workers traveling with us deserve. pic.twitter.com/Cq4PG9fQ3P
— MTA. Stay Home. Stop the Spread. (@MTA) May 2, 2020
Doing it for the transit workers
Healthcare professionals, first responders, and other essential workers routinely commute via the subway train every day.
The safety of these tireless heroes is one of the main reasons the MTA is launching the nightly clean-up operations. Every morning, front liners can rest assured that if ever they decide to ride the train, they won’t have to worry about getting infected.
For those essential workers commuting during the closure hours, specifically with the affected time window of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., the MTA is offering its Essential Plan Night Service.
This will deploy an additional 344 new buses to the existing 235 already running between midnight and daybreak.