NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expanding a pilot program that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect subway trains.
During a demonstration Friday, an 11-car train at the Corona maintenance facility lit up like a discotheque, with powerful UV lamps flashing on and off to kill viruses and bacteria.
The MTA started testing the technology last month and is now rolling it out to disinfect not just one car at a time, but the entire length of the train.
"Part of the initial phases of the pilot was to determine actual spacial arrangement of the bulbs and the lamps that we need in each car. A shadow will not let the UV light work," said MTA Chief Mechanical Officer John Santamaria.
Columbia University researchers found the UV light is efficient not only in killing the COVID-19 virus, but SARS, influenza and Ebola.
The MTA is deploying 150 of the mobile devices to clean subways as part of the first phase of the pilot.
"I think its our responsibility to find every ways and means to keep the cars clean and to give our riders a sense of comfort to know that they can ride the system and we are doing everything we can to make the environment as safe as possible for them," Santamaria said.
The lights take 15 to 20 minutes to clean a car.