New York using ultraviolet light to kill coronavirus on subway cars, commuter trains, buses

(WHDH) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City is deploying ultraviolet-light devices as part of a pilot program to kill coronavirus on subway cars, commuter trains, and buses.

The new disinfecting technology has shown promise in eradicating COVID-19 from surfaces and the MTA says it plans to use 150 dual-headed mobile devices to zap the inside of transit vehicles beginning early next week, officials said in a news release.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have been using the devices since the start of the coronavirus outbreak to help sanitize high-traffic areas as they treat infected individuals.

“This crisis creates opportunities to bring in new technologies to solve a once-in-a-generation challenge. The MTA is showing how it can rise to the occasion by innovating quickly and safely,” MTA Chief Innovation Officer Mark Dowd said. “We know UVC can help disinfect surfaces in hospital operating rooms, and we owe it to our employees and customers to experiment with it in our system to keep them safe.”

The program will initially focus on New York City to test and evaluate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the new technology, officials said. Phase 2 of the program would include an expansion to Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

The MTA is hopeful that the ultra-violet lights can decrease cleaning and disinfecting expenses in 2020 and persuade riders to return to using public transportation again.

“If successful, the results could help disinfect our buses and train cars, crew rooms, and other facilities in a more timely and cost-efficient,” Dowd added.

New York has been hardest hit by the coronavirus, with more than 362,000 cases and 28,000 deaths.

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