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MTA Unveils New UV Light Technology To Kill Coronavirus On Subways And Buses

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- To reopen the economy, New York City needs to get its workers moving again. That means a clean, safe ride on Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses and subways.

On Tuesday, the agency unveiled new technology aimed at doing just that.

The MTA is hoping it will stop coronavirus in its tracks. The agency is installing 150 ultraviolet devices on select trains and buses that would essentially kill the virus, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported.

Transit officials teamed up with scientists at Columbia University who have been researching for some time how UV light stops the disease.


There are different forms of UV light. The form that is being tested by the MTA is UVC. Its rays are very strong, so it can't be done while people are on the subways or buses. So the tests are being conducted when the subways and buses are off service.

The lights look just like metal boxes. The simplest way to explain it is when that UV light flashes, bacteria is killed.

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UV light is obviously more effective than scrubbing trains for hours with bleach, but it's also expensive. The 150 devices cost around $1 million.

If and when researchers determine if the UV light approach is effective, it will be expanded to the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

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