The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a pilot program to use powerful ultraviolet lamps to disinfect New York’s subways and buses.
“To our knowledge, this is the first reported test of its kind, period,” Patrick Foye, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said during the technology was demonstrated.
Foye continued, “For nearly three months, the MTA has worked relentlessly to disinfect our entire fleet of subways and buses but we’ve always promised that we would explore any and all new approaches available to us as well.
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.”
MTA has collaborated with Columbia University and shall spend about $1 million to purchase and deploy 150 mobile devices to clean subways, buses and subway stations as part of the first phase of the experimental program in an effort to eradicate the novel coronavirus.
“UV is a proven technology that has worked effectively in hospital emergency rooms, hospital operating rooms, urgent care centers, universities and first-responder locations,” said Foye.
“I don’t want to mislead anybody into thinking this is a cure-all.There is still much work to be done, but this is a significant and promising new development. ”
David Brenner, director of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research said in a statement, “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.”
Denver-based start-up PURO Lighting will be providing the disinfecting lighting lamps, which uses high-intensity, full-spectrum UV lights that can be installed on a ceiling of wall.
UVC, one of the three types of light on the UV spectrum, is believed to be potent against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, as well as against other viruses and bacteria.
UVC lamps and robots had been used to sanitize water, laboratory equipment and spaces such as buses and airplanes.
Should the project results are good, MTA officials said they will expand the pilot to include more trains and buses.