NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Transit officials on Friday demonstrated the ultraviolet technology it is using to kill COVID-19 in a pilot program to disinfect entire trains.
The pilot is initially focused on identifying ways to eradicate COVID-19 in rolling stock, including car classes R188, R62, R46, R68, and R160 at Corona, Coney Island, Jamaica and Pelham Maintenance Shops.
"We continue to move full speed ahead with our efforts to explore any and every idea that might help keep our system safe during these challenging times," NYC Transit Senior Vice President for Subways Sally Librera said. "Ultraviolet technology is one of many outside-the-box ideas we're pursuing to disinfect the system. I look forward to continuing to expand this pilot and learning more about how ultraviolet technology can best help us moving forward."
Ultraviolet light is an efficient, proven, and effective technology for eliminating viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
As part of the proof-of-concept, the MTA requested that Dr. David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, gain access to their containment laboratories at biosafety level three for the purpose of testing the efficacy of miniaturized UV lamps to kill COVID-19.
Last month, Dr. Brenner reported the first-ever demonstrated test of ultraviolet that efficiently killed the virus that causes COVID-19.
"It has been known for 100 years that UV light is incredibly efficient in killing bacteria," he said when the technology was unveiled last month. "The UV light that's going to be used in the overnight subway cleaning is very efficient at killing the virus responsible for COVID-19."
The pilot is another step the MTA has taken in its disinfecting effort to keep employees and customers safe by disinfecting the entire system every 24 hours.
On May 6, the MTA started its historic closing of subway system from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. so that every major touch point in stations and subway cars can be thoroughly disinfected.
The MTA also launched an industry-leading "Temperature Brigade" on March 24, taking employee temperatures at work locations, implemented rear-door boarding on buses and eliminated cash transactions at stations and on commuter rails to prevent person-to-person contact to ensure the safety of operating employees. The health and safety of the MTA's employees and customers continues to be the agency's top priority.
Since the start of the pandemic in early March, the MTA has distributed 3 million masks, 5.4 million pairs of gloves, 3.1 million sanitizing wipes, 36,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 125,000 hand sanitizer bottles, 116,000 gallons of cleaning solutions, and 8,000 face shields to its employees.
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