Initial results in testing the two technologies to counter the spread of COVID-19 on the Long Island Railroad trains have shown disappointment, shipping officials said.
The disinfection solutions the manufacturers promise to kill viruses on the surface for weeks with just one application have been ineffective for at least a day, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said. Urban said. And the use of ultraviolet lights to kill viruses on trains has proved to be more expensive and time consuming than regulators do to disinfect wagons with aerosols and wipes.
Despite the setbacks, transport officials remain optimistic about other technologies being tested ̵1; including on-train air purification systems – and say their combined efforts in time. The translation will reassure passengers that the trains are safe.
“Not everything works the way you hope. But if you don’t try it, if you don’t go through the process you’ll never know,” said MTA Innovation Director, Mark Dowd, defender The agency’s efforts to keep trains safe for drivers, including disinfecting each LIRR train at least once a day.
“We have done a great job on this,” Dowd added. “We are efficient. We are efficient. And we are doing our best to keep our costs down.”
In May, MTA president Patrick Foye announced that the agency had launched a pilot program to test “many products from multiple companies” that are claimed to kill viruses on surfaces in 30 to 90. date with an application. Foye recently suggested that, while the tests were still in progress, the initial results showed “a bit disappointing in terms of timing.”
In an interview on Friday, Dowd said the US Environmental Protection Agency spearheaded testing efforts from a North Carolina laboratory using surfaces found on MTA vehicles. For safety reasons, tests have yet to be performed for a specific strain of coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – at the heart of the pandemic. But the antimicrobial disinfectants being tested often don’t work as advertised – in some cases, disappear after just a day, Dowd said.
Trials using the COVID-19 strain are expected to begin this week. The MTA estimates that the competent authority spent about $ 750,000 on the antimicrobial disinfectant testing.
In May, the MTA announced the first of its kind to test the use of intense light to destroy viruses on trains and buses. The MTA deployed 150 lights inside the empty carriages. Depending on the success of the trials, the agency said it would consider expanding the program to LIRR.
The agency hoped the technology would be more cost-effective than sending crew members to sterilize trains and it would protect employees from exposure to the virus.
But Dowd says the technology has also failed to meet expectations, partly due to operational barriers. MTA has been hoping to use UV lamps to sterilize the wagon in about 15 minutes. But it took longer than that, partly because of safety concerns for workers working near the electrified third-track at the yards where fumigation took place.
Although the ultraviolet “clearly kills the COVID-19 virus, it is probably best used in our system at the stations, probably by robotics,” Foye said.
Test results come as the MTA continues to struggle to lure passengers back into the transit system. Number of passengers for the week on the LIRR remained at about 28% compared with the pre-pandemic level. The Ministry of Railways predicts that fare revenue will drop 64% by 2020, from $ 769 million last year to $ 279 million this year.
Hofstra University Associate Professor Anthony Santella, specializing in public health and infectious diseases, said he was “not surprised” to learn that testing improved methods to combat COVID-19 has yielded some disappointing results. Like the virus itself, the science behind fighting viruses is still developing, he said.
“We have to be patient and accept the fact that we’re actually going through unprecedented times. We just need to be patient to allow organizations, scientists, and others to have space. And some of those jobs will be successful, and some Santella said, who believes the MTA and its riders should not be discouraged by the test results, this may be useful in developing future strategies to protect drivers from airborne diseases.
“In my opinion, sharing the negative and insignificant findings is just as important as the effective findings,” says Santella.
Despite the findings of disinfection and UV tests, MTA officials said another technology being tested on the agency’s commuter rail lines looks promising. LIRR and its sister railway Metro-North are testing the use of an electrostatic air filter that the developers say can destroy 99.9998% of the airborne particles in trains.
And the MTA is looking at other high-tech and low-tech solutions, including copper coatings for stainless steel train surfaces that might be less likely to transmit viruses.
The MTA has partnered with other transport agencies on the “COVID Challenge”, which invites candidates to submit their ideas on how to protect riders during the pandemic. Last month, eight companies were selected from 200 candidates for carrier carriers to test their technology for a year.
LIRR longtime West Hempstead rider Owen Rumelt, 60, however, was in no hurry to return to the railroad he last rode in March. And, he said, the early findings of the MTA’s tests “didn’t give me any comfort.”
“The combination of disappointing results, the … disappointing failure of many people wearing masks, and the inability of social distance on train trains,” says Rumelt, a lawyer. I don’t want to go back. “That’s a risk I’m not willing to take.”
But LIRR Commuter Council President Gerard Bringmann said he doesn’t believe most invalid rail riders are avoiding the system out of concern for their safety, but rather because they have options. replace for travel.
Bringmann praises the MTA for admitting that some strategies for fighting viruses have failed, and for getting ahead with others, like air purifiers on LIRR.
“They tried,” Bringmann says. “At least now they know, and they won’t throw good money after bad.”