MTA To Continue $300 Million-a-Year Cleaning Routine after COVID
Even after COVID-19 shifts from reality to memory, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will continue to maintain its daily subway cleaning routine, which costs $300 million, said MTA officials, who added that they will be asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse the costs.
Although some transit advocates have dismissed the expensive subway cleaning as “hygiene theater” by pointing to scientific evidence that coronavirus “does not spread easily” through surfaces, MTA surveys of riders have shown overwhelming support for the cleaning regimen.
Surely the MTA would have been criticized if it did not adopt a cleaning strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the inevitable criticism, the MTA has persisted with its disinfecting strategy, while arguing that even the smallest threat of catching the virus deters potential riders, the New York Post reported.
On Monday, State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), voiced approval for the MTA’s continued spending on cleaning and disinfecting when he said that clean trains, buses, and stations are essential to “restore faith in the subways.”
“I don’t think it’s hygiene theater at all,” said State Sen. Comrie, who chairs the committee responsible for MTA oversight. “I think that, clearly in the beginning [of the pandemic], there was a real paranoia about how you got infected.
“One of the big issues with the ridership before was the level of cleanliness in the cars and the stations. I don’t think [the cleaning] should abate at all. It should probably stay permanent– because who knows what the next issue is?
“And even if we don’t face another health crisis or viral crisis, the improvement of cleanliness and the subways is important.
Photo: Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit
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