NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The bus driver's union says 11 MTA buses have been put out of service because of a possible bed bug infestation.
CBS2's Hazel Sanchez was at the Kingsbridge Bus Depot in Inwood Tuesday, where MTA workers in protective jumpsuits placed covers over bus seats marked "on hold for bed bugs."
According to transit workers, there's been a large increase in bed bug cases recently.
"Some of the operators, upon inspection, they come across it. Or while they're in service they feel a bite or an itch and they've come across it," Flex Olivo, a TWU 100 staff representative said.
Olivo adds the 11 buses pulled from service have all been fumigated however, Transit Authority CEO Andy Byford claims they're not sure the pests were really bed bugs.
"A customer did say they thought they saw something like that. We don't ignore such a report. We deal with it straight away. So we're waiting to see exactly what it was. And we'll take appropriate action," Byford said.
The MTA says it is only aware of six buses that have been quarantined; all at the Kingsbridge Bus Depot. Transit officials later added that no bed bug cases had been confirmed and called the claims "irresponsible."
Shortly after CBS2 arrived at the depot, an MTA worker reportedly instructed staff members to wipe the bed bug warnings off bus windshields.
TWU 100 leaders are trying to keep the potential bed bug problem contained. They've instructed drivers to reach out to other drivers by word of mouth or social media, encouraging each other to check their buses for bed bugs before hitting the streets.
"We don't want this stuff to go back to our house or any of the passengers to take it home. So hopefully they'll address it and take care of it," Olivo added.
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