The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced an update to agency-wide sanitizing protocols as it redoubles safety precautions in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). New York City Transit, MTA Bus Company, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North are significantly increasing the frequency and intensity of sanitizing procedures at each of its stations, moving to disinfecting efforts twice a day, and continuing its daily cleanings on its fleet of rolling stock with the full fleet of train cars and buses completed every 72 hours or less. The Access-A-Ride dedicated fleet is disinfected daily.
Frequently used surfaces in stations–commonly referred to as touch points–such as turnstiles, MetroCard and ticket vending machines, and handrails, are now being disinfected twice daily. The MTA continues to use EPA-approved and CDC-endorsed disinfectants.
At Metro-North’s New Rochelle station, crews will be performing a weekly deep cleaning, and a dedicated cleaning crew is now stationed there daily. New Rochelle has the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases in New York. Cleaning crews have redoubled efforts to clean major touch points at the station, cleaning once at night and again during the day to ensure commuters traveling from that station are safe as possible.
“Our top priority is to ensure we are doing all we can to make the system as safe as possible for customers and employees,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO. “We are investigating new advanced disinfectant methods to build on the round-the-clock efforts our hard-working employees are undertaking to sanitize the system.”
“We are taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our employees that continue to show their dedication to move 8 million commuters every day,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Péloquin. “Our employees continue to do a terrific job disinfecting stations, trains and buses to keep us all safe.”
“Good hygiene remains the best defense against COVID-19,” said Patrick Warren, MTA Chief Safety Officer. “The MTA has continued its disinfecting efforts, making sure those common touch points at stations, trains and buses are disinfected. We also ask our customers to redouble their hygiene efforts, stay home if you are sick, and follow the messaging we have up at our stations.”
“Our primary job is to keep our customers, employees and the greater public as safe as possible,” Catherine Rinaldi, President of MTA Metro-North Railroad said. “We have enhanced the cleaning efforts at our stations, making sure any hard surface someone can come into contact with is thoroughly disinfected.”
The MTA has continued to deploy health guidance PSAs at stations, on train cars and buses to complement customer messaging already deployed across 3,600 subway screens, 2,000 bus screens and at 84 subway station street entrances. The same messaging has also been deployed across 550 railroad screens. The MTA has stockpiles of hygienic supplies on hand and continues to procure cleaning materials, while working hand-in-hand with the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the State Department of Health (DOH), and other government agencies. Daily car disinfection of New York City Transit’s 6,714 subway cars, Staten Island Railway’s 64 cars, and Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North’s over 1,100 cars each, continues so that no car in a fleet would go beyond a 72-hour period without a full cleaning. This cleaning cycle also includes the MTA’s 5,700 buses and fleet of 1,341 dedicated Access-A-Ride vans, which are fully disinfected daily.
Cumulatively since March 2, there have been 16,225 subway cars disinfected, as well as 293 Staten Island Railway cars, 16,049 NYC Transit and MTA buses, 11,045 Paratransit vehicles, 4,756 Long Island Rail Road train cars, and 3,635 Metro-North Railroad train cars.
There are 472 subway stations, 21 stations along Staten Island Railway, the 124 stations and terminals along Long Island Rail Road and 124 stations throughout Metro-North’s territory.
The MTA continues to work around the clock with the CDC, DOH and other agencies, and has already taken a number of steps to provide information about the novel coronavirus to employees and customers.
Extended hours are being offered for employees to receive free flu shots at any MTA Medical Assessment Center (MAC). Employees can also get flu shots at a pharmacy or from their health care provider. The MTA continues to urge customers and employees to follow recommendations from the CDC:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with somebody who has traveled to these areas should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment.
Coronavirus is an umbrella term for a host of mild-to-moderate illnesses including the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses should not be confused with COVID-19.
For more information on the MTA’s precautions and guidance regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit here.