NYC public transit ridership on the rise as COVID-19 infections ease

Ruben Fields
May 22, 2020

Calling it "another aggressive step" in keeping NY metro area's transit system clean and safe, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Columbia University, and Denver-based startup PURO joined forces to develop a miniaturized ultraviolet-C (UVC) lamp that is portable and proven to kill germs.

"What we are doing here is reducing the level of the virus in subways, and therefore decreasing the risk of anybody catching COVID-19 on the subway", said Dr. Brenner. PURO noted that their lamps also have UVA and UVB for full spectrum disinfection.

Subway ridership now is about 600,000 trips per day, while buses have become more popular, approaching 700,000 trips per day, according to Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of New York City Transit.

Earlier this month. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the metro system - the largest in the country - would close the night service so that trains could be disinfected in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

"As we said, we don't neglect anything when it comes to promoting and protecting public health", said MTA president and CEO Patrick J. Foye at a press conference. "For nearly three months, the MTA has worked tirelessly to disinfect our entire fleet of subways and buses, but we have always promised that we would explore all the new approaches available to us too". "The launch of this UVC pilot represents a promising next step in our ongoing efforts to identify technologies that can keep our customers and employees as safe as possible".

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Non-EU migrants now have to pay the health immigration surcharge, which is £400 per year and set to rise to £624 in October. It won emergency use in the USA earlier this month and clearance for countries accepting Europe's CE marking.

For the first time in its 115-year history, New York City deliberately shut down its entire subway system overnight starting May 6 to clean all its cars. UVC is demonstrated to kill viruses in many other applications, including hospital operating rooms, urgent care clinics, universities, and fire stations.

Beginning next week, UV light units will be deployed to disinfect surfaces of subways in NY. Photos from the MTA show the units mounted on the pillars in the center of the vehicle.

The MTA found that the agency had asked Dr. David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, to examine the efficiency of the lamps.

The intense light can eliminate the COVID-19 virus on surfaces more quickly and efficiently, the agency says, than costly cleaning by crews. These devices could help bolster those efforts, and according to the MTA, it's been working with Puro Lighting since mid-March to readapt the technology for MTA infrastructure. The agency has always been looking into the use of antimicrobials to disinfect and prevent virus growth.

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