MTA begs Memorial Day beachgoers to stay off subways, buses, LIRR

Yolanda Curtis
May 22, 2020

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Tuesday evening that it will use "150 double-headed mobile devices" from the Denver-based start-up PURO Lighting to determine the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of UVC light technology. stated the agency in a press release.

The MTA touts that UVC light is "an efficient, proven, and effective technology for eliminating viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19" and has been demonstrated to kill viruses in hospital operating rooms, urgent care clinics, universities, and fire stations.

Employees that are asymptotic, or not now exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, but may have been exposed to the diseases are eligible for the antibody testing, MTA officials said in a press release.

"We understand people have been locked up and will want to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, but [mass transit] remains for important workers and those who travel only, "MTA Chair and CEO Patrick J. Foye said in a statement Thursday". This would still be cheaper than the nightly shutdown of the New York subway to allow cleaning and disinfecting of the trains like how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this month.

He said the program will be conducted in two phases.

As part of the proof-of-concept, the MTA requested that Dr. David Brenner, Director, Center for Radiological Research, Columbia University gain access to their containment laboratories at biosafety level three for the goal of testing the efficacy of miniaturized UV lamps to kill COVID-19.

"To our knowledge", Foye said, "This is the first reported test of this kind".

The MTA has been working with Puro since March to adapt its technology so that it can be used on metros and buses.

Preliminary results released earlier this week show that the lights have been effective in killing the coronavirus, with additional testing set to take place before the study is submitted for peer review.

"This crisis creates opportunities to bring in new technologies to solve once-in-a-generation challenge".

The MTA is taking a groundbreaking approach to disinfecting trains and subways.

"This has never been done, as far as I know, on the scale that we plan on doing it with the knowledge that it kills COVID-19", said Mark Dowd, the MTA's chief innovation officer.

"In this time of great uncertainty, New Yorkers need to feel safe and have the confidence to venture back into normal life", said Webb Lawrence, co-founder of PURO Lighting. That's what we do The next step in our efforts.

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