Governor Andrew Cuomo has been quelling rumors of a subway shutdown in New York City, stating on a 1010 WINS interview this morning “no, subways are not closing down, roads are not closing, New York City is not closing down.” In fact, the MTA has doubled down on sanitizing efforts in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
For most New Yorkers, the city’s transit system is their lifeblood. Many New Yorkers do not have the choice to work from home. The service industry continues to operate — our fellow residents are delivering our Amazon Prime Now orders, Seamless orders, and other quick delivery options, people are operating and servicing the transit system, health care workers are going to hospitals and clinics.

MTA workers disinfecting turnstiles in subwayPhoto by Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transit Authority

If you are wondering what the MTA is doing for corona virus, here it is. On February 27th, the agency began issuing precautions in multiple languages on digital screens on how riders could protect themselves from coronavirus. On March 2nd, it announced “enhanced sanitizing procedures” across its services, the subway, bus, Access-A-Ride, Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, stating that disinfection on frequently-used surfaces was taking place daily, with daily cleanings of the rolling stock, and sanitization of the full fleet of rolling stock every 72 hours or less. Frequently-used surfaces, known as touchpoints, are places like turnstiles, MetroCard machines, and handrails.

MTA workers disinfecting handrails in subwayPhoto by Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transit Authority

MTA workers disinfecting doors in subwayPhoto by Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transit Authority

Two days ago on March 11th, the MTA announced it was doubling the sanitization in stations to twice a day. Access-a-Ride fleet is getting disinfected daily. According to the MTA on  March 11th, “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.” New Rochelle Metro-North station has a dedicated cleaning team, with two cleans per day and a weekly deep clean.

In terms of the cleaning products used, the MTA states they are continuing to use EPA-approved and CDC-endorsed disinfectants. It is working with the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the State Department of Health (DOH), and other government agencies on the efforts. Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO said “Our top priority is to ensure we are doing all we can to make the system as safe as possible for customers and employees. 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.”
Next, check out NYC’s former quarantine islands and hospitals. See a previous video of how the subway stations get cleaned