Get us in your inbox


The MTA is planning to use UV lights to disinfect the subway

The treatments are set to begin this month.

Written by
Howard Halle

While putting ultraviolet lights in your body to kill the coronavirus, as President Trump recently recommended, may not be prudent (or even physically possible), inserting them in other places might have merit—like, say, on the subway. That is indeed what the Metropolitan Transit Authority is planning to do, according to a story broken by the New York Daily News.

As cited in the report, the MTA is starting a program to disinfect subways, buses and work areas using UV lights at two rail yards and one bus depot beginning the week of May 11. If the treatments are successful, they will be expanded to include other parts of the transit system.

The MTA isn't planning on using the sort of black lights usually associated with fluorescent posters or semen stains at crime scenes. Instead, they will employ germicidal UV-C lamps powerful enough to inflict burns, corneal damage and skin cancer on humans after prolonged exposure. The lights are meant to beef up the MTA's current campaign of sanitizing the system, which has involved the use of chemical cleaning agents, and the suspension of overnight hours.

Even in the best of circumstances, subway cars are basically rolling petri dishes infested with bedbugs, and while it shouldn't have taken a crisis to scrub them regularly, it’s become absolutely essential now that riding the subway has become potentially lethal.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether radiating the trains will UV-C lamps will actually work. Still, it might be worth giving them a shot: They may prove to be the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

Most popular on Time Out

- Millions of free face coverings are being distributed across NYC this month
- You can download over 200 art books from the Guggenheim for free
- The Metropolitan Opera streams a new lineup of free performances every night this week
- The best live theater to stream online
- Ellis Island will now personally help you research your ancestors

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news