MTA Ramps Up Sanitation Work Amid Coronavirus Cases

NEW YORK—So far, two cases of the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed in the state. However, although the risk of infection here is low, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is giving its subway stations, trains, and buses a good disinfecting—daily.

MTA officials said on March 3 that over 400 subway stations have already been cleaned up. They’re on their way to disinfect 5,700 buses and more.

“We think it will do two things: It will decrease the presence of viruses, both the COVID-19 and others on our facilities, but it will also give our customers a sense that we’re doing everything we can,” said MTA Chairman Patrick J. Foye at the press conference.

The MTA added that there doesn’t appear to be any changes in ridership amid news of the virus and that people should carry on with their lives. Outside, a few people told NTD News they’re not worried—but the sanitation efforts wouldn’t hurt.

MTA worker
MTA worker wipes down equipment at a subway station in New York on Mar. 3, 2020. (Patrick Cashin/MTA New York City Transit)

“Really, like, it couldn’t hurt,” said a regular customer of the MTA. “If you’re asking me if I’m concerned about it, I’m not really concerned.”

Another said the additional sanitation efforts weren’t an absolute cure, but a thoughtful measure.

“The mindfulness, yes, like taking some kind of initiative … is a good step,” he said.

A day before the press conference, Governor Cuomo said the first person to test positive for the virus in New York did not use public transportation upon her return from Iran. However, Foye said it’s unclear if that was the case for the second person.

The MTA will also make periodic announcements in its subways, giving its customers basic suggestions on how to avoid spreading it. The chairman said all frequently-used surfaces would be sanitized every three days.