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How we’re cleaning during the coronavirus pandemic

Updated October 23, 2020

About our new cleaning procedures

Our top priority during the coronavirus pandemic is keeping essential workers, our own employees, and anyone else still riding with us healthy and safe.  

To do this, we’re ramping up our cleaning procedures for subway trains and stations, buses and Access-A-Ride. Frequent touchpoints on subway cars, buses, and Access-A-Ride vehicles will be disinfected every 24 hours. 

We’re also testing new cleaning technology so we can clean and disinfect more efficiently.

About third-party contractors

We have partnered with contractors for cleaning and disinfecting work. For employment opportunities, contact the firms directly.

How we clean

Our crews remove trash, clean spills and biohazards, spot-clean seats, floors, and other surfaces, and disinfect common touchpoints. We use disinfectants that are Environmental Protection Agency registered.

When and where we're cleaning

During the day in terminals

This is a new program. You will see more cleaners in the system throughout the day, especially at end-of-line stations.

Overnight in yards and bus depots

Trains and buses that were in service during the day but out of service at night will get a more comprehensive cleaning each night while they’re stored in our yards.

Overnight in terminals

Trains that run at night will also be comprehensively cleaned, except at terminal stations instead of in yards.

Piloting new cleaning technology

We’re testing new ways to clean and disinfect more efficiently. And we’re working with technical advisors to do it.  Here are some of the new technologies we’re piloting. 

Antimicrobial biostats: Because the specific strain of virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for a long time, we’re testing ways to prevent germs from taking hold and growing in our facilities. Antimicrobial biostats are materials that create a protective layer on surfaces and prevent microbes from growing. We’re conducting tests and applying these after we disinfect 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. We’re testing UV light on our vehicles and other fixed locations, like break rooms and operations centers. We're working with Columbia University and a UV technology startup to make mini UV lights we 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. We’re testing these out on subways and buses. 

Innovative air filters: We're launching a 30-day pilot to test innovative new air filters on several car classes to examine if they effectively kill microbes. We've also increased the frequency of subway air filter replacements to every 36 days, from every 72 days.

What you can do

  • Masks are encouraged but optional across all of our modes of transit. 
  • Clean your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
    • Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • Avoid crowds when you can. If you can commute at less busy times, or wait for a less crowded train or bus, do that. 

Here’s more from the Centers for Disease Control.  

See our guide to traveling safely.


Duration 01:14

MTA Safe Travels: 24/7 Clean

Keeping our system healthy and safe