The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), which operates New York City's public transit system with daily a ridership in the millions, is intensifying sanitation efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in the city.
The agency will clean its train cars and buses daily and will disinfect its fleet every 72 hours, MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye in a statement Tuesday. Subways stations, turnstiles and MetroCard vending machines will also be cleaned, in addition to the fleet and stations for the Long Island Rail Road, the Metro-North and Access-A-Ride services.
"We want New Yorkers to know that we're doing everything possible to keep our customers safe," Foye said. "We continue to closely monitor the situation and take all necessary actions to ensure our system remains safe for our customers and employees."
A total of 472 subway stations, 21 Staten Island Railway Stations, 124 LIRR stations and more than 100 Metro-North stations will be receiving a deep cleaning.
The Transit Workers Union Local 100, which represents rank-and-file MTA employees, tweeted videos of workers wearing face masks scrubbing subway handrails and turnstiles.
The move comes amid the discovery of a second coronavirus case in New York. A 50-year-old Westchester County resident had underlying respiratory issues, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday. The man did not travel to an area with known coronavirus cases but did visit Miami recently.
More than 92,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide and more than 3,100 have died, mostly in mainland China.
The MTA has a ridership of more than 5.4 million people each weekday, according to the agency. Local 100 president Tony Utano told the New York Daily News the agency should think twice about plans to cut 2,700 jobs this year.
“If MTA officials and the authority’s chief hatchet man are still thinking about laying off transit workers, they need to have their heads examined," he said.
Messages to the union from Fox News were not returned.
Nine people have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus, all in Washington state.