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From 1 to 5am, the MTA is shut down for cleaning. New technology is being employed to clean and disinfect more efficiently. They are working with technical advisors , and here are some of the new technologies being piloted.
Antimicrobial biostats: Because the specific strain of virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for a long time, they are testing ways to prevent germs from taking hold and growing in the facilities. Antimicrobial biostats are materials that create a protective layer on surfaces and prevent microbes from growing. They are conducting tests and applying these after disinfecting surfaces in train cars and buses, stations, and crew quarters.
Ultraviolet light: UV light is an efficient, proven way to eliminate viruses—it’s used in hospitals, too. They are testing UV light on vehicles and other fixed locations, like break rooms and operations centers. They have worked with Columbia University and a UV technology startup to make mini UV lights that can easily move around.
Electrostatic sprayers: An electrostatic sprayer positively charges a disinfecting solution, atomizes it, and disperses it in tiny particles across a negatively-charged surface. The “opposites attract,” and the atomized disinfecting solution spreads out evenly across the entire surface, even hard-to-reach areas. These are being tested on subways and buses.
On May 19, 2020, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced an ultraviolet (UV) light pilot program proven to kill COVID-19, with the first phase set to launch on subways, buses, and other New York City Transit facilities throughout the system on May 25. This footage shows a demonstration of the operations of the pilot’s machinery emitting flashes of light that bathe the interior surfaces of subway train cars and buses in ultraviolet light, killing the virus that causes COVID-19.
UV-C light can be adapted for a variety of uses – while there is not yet a home model, expect to see these develop quickly, with prices eventually coming down to be used by the average home owner.