Cleaning tech aimed at keeping trains, buses COVID-free 'disappointing,' MTA says

A train conductor walks through a near-empty car on the Long Island Railroad in March.
A train conductor walks through a near-empty car on the Long Island Railroad in March. Photo credit Al Bello/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The MTA hasn’t seen as much success as it would’ve liked with some high-tech cleaning solutions on subways, buses and trains.

When they were announced back in May, new disinfectant solutions were said to be able to kill the virus for weeks after just one application.

MTA Chairman Pat Foye said it hasn’t worked out that way.

“The antimicrobial, frankly, we are still looking at it. It has been somewhat disappointing on the duration issue,” Foye said.

An MTA official told Newsday that tests show the solution wearing off in as little as a day.

Foye also said the pilot using ultraviolet light to kill the virus is effective, it’s just not all that practical.

“There are concerns from an operating point of view about the time and cost it would take to do rolling stock, whether it's subway cars or Metro-North or the Long Island Railroad,” Foye said, adding that it might be put to better use in stations, perhaps by robots.

One project is showing some promise, Foye said. That’s the installation of advanced air filtration systems on the LIRR and Metro-North. He called the air exchange technology “quite promising.”

Developers said the advanced filters can kill 99.9% of airborne particles in trains.