MTA expands ultraviolet disinfecting program to include full train sets

Ultraviolet lamps, placed in the middle of a subway car in Corona, Queens, flashes rays of UV light in a split second across the entire car, destroying germs such as COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of MTA)

Looking to zap as many COVID-19 germs as possible as ridership grows, the MTA is expanding its ultraviolet disinfecting program to full train sets within the subway system.

Originally implemented for all 7 trains out of the Corona Maintenance Yard in Queens, the UV cleaning program uses germicidal and antibacterial rays of UV light, flashed in an instant, within each subway car. The expansion will now utilize this technology for R188, R62, R46, R68 and R160 trains operated out of the Corona, Coney Island, Jamaica and Pelham Maintenance Facilities.

It’s part of the MTA’s ongoing effort to disinfect every subway car in the system, launched early on during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. The effort includes the unprecedented overnight shutdown of the entire subway system for cleaning.

UV light has proven to be an effective weapon in eradicating viruses such as SARS-Cov-2, which causes COVID-19. 

“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,” said Sally Librera, Senior Vice President for Subways at New York City Transit. “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.”
Since March, when the pandemic began in New York City, the MTA says it has distributed more than 3 million masks, 5.4 million pairs of gloves and 8,000 face shields to frontline workers.