Brooklyn Boro

Two hours more subway service, two more to go

February 16, 2021 Larry Penner

There is more to MTA Chairman Pat Foye’s announcement that he will be reducing the closing of all 471 NYC Transit subway stations by two hours from 1 to 5 a.m. to 2 to 4 a.m. Everyone has known for decades that the subway, bus, commuter rail, and ferries are a Petri dish for catching a cold, the flu, or other communicable diseases.

The rise of a growing homeless population, who ride our subways and live at stations has made matters worse. They clearly have little ability to maintain personal hygiene. Pat Foye’s having transit workers deep clean the entire system using an “enhanced daily cleaning procedure,” or scrub strategy should have been the norm for years.

Between homeless on board and pre-COVID-19 rush hour standing room only crowds, they need to be thoroughly cleaned on a 24-hour basis. The odds increase for spreading a communicable disease when you are trapped pre-COVID-19 on a crowded bus or subway for long periods of time. Pre-COVID-19, millions of New Yorkers rode the subway, bus, or commuter rail.

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The best time to clean subway cars is off-peak or overnight when a majority of the fleet is not in transit service. Buses can be cleaned overnight when most are not in transit service.

Sanitizing “commonly touched surfaces” at subway stations including turnstiles, exit gates, platform floors, bathrooms, Metro Card vending machines, and benches can continue to be done off-peak, evenings, and overnight on a daily basis.

It should never have taken the potential spread of the coronavirus for the MTA to properly clean equipment and stations. The safety and security of the riding public should always be the number one priority.

NYC has always been a 24/7 town. As more people are vaccinated, the next step is to resume round-the-clock service in the coming months hopefully by June.


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