There’s no doubt that public transportation systems the world over have been shaken up by this coronavirus outbreak. Some of the world’s busiest cities, however, are facing bigger problems than others in terms of finding ways to properly operate transport under the new normal.
New York City is one such example. Before the pandemic hit, there were reportedly more than a million people who go around The Big Apple on a daily basis, with hundreds of thousands using public transport. Taking these numbers into consideration, how can you ensure the safety of commuters in a city as busy as this?
According to a CNN report, the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA)—the transport agency in charge of public transit in New York—will be making use of a familiar yet effective technology: ultraviolet lamps. To be specific, UVC light technology will be used. This is a type of light in the UV spectrum that can eliminate COVID-19 and other types of viruses and bacteria.
The agency said 150 dual-headed mobile devices from startup company PURO Lighting will be used to determine the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the technology. These will be examined by Columbia University Center for Radiological Research director David Brenner.
The first phase of the pilot program is set to be launched soon on subways and buses, as well as at transport facilities. If successful, the MTA said that the system will be implemented along the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, two other train lines that service NYC’s suburbs.
“This is a first of its kind pilot when it comes to transportation agencies around the world and we are proud to be a part of it,” said MTA chairman and CEO Patrick Foye. “For nearly three months, the MTA has worked relentlessly to disinfect our entire fleet of subways and buses but we’ve always promised that we would explore any and all new approaches available to us as well. The launch of this UVC pilot represents a promising next step in our ongoing efforts to identify technologies that can keep our customers and employees as safe as possible.”
As of this writing, there are already more than 1.6 million COVID-19 cases in the US with more than 97,000 deaths. Of that death toll, more than 29,000 have been recorded in New York City alone.
Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from initiatives from other countries such as this one, especially given how busy our trains and buses in Metro Manila usually are. What do you think?