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NYC Lawmakers Want More Transparency from MTA on Bedbugs

NYC Lawmakers Want More Transparency from MTA on Bedbugs
Legislation would require MTA to notify New Yorkers of bed bug infestation on trains or buses.

Bedbugs have again been spotted on some New York City subways this week, and an N train even had to stop in Brooklyn on Monday, after the conductor came in contact with the pests. 

The bugs have New Yorkers concerned in all parts of the city, including in the Bronx. 

"[Bed bugs] are a hygiene problem, they can travel from the subway to your home or wherever your stopping at," Chauncy Smith said, a Bronx resident who takes the 1 train into Manhattan a few times a week. "It could just lead to a really bad outbreak."

Assembly Member William Colton and Council Member Mark Treyger announced legislation on Thursday that would require the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to notify residents within 24 hours if the pests are found on a bus or train. 

"The same means [the MTA] notifies the public of a change or an emergency is the same means they can notify the public of these infestations, and what they are doing to exterminate them," Treyger said. 

Treyger said the legislation addresses a public safety concern and will help protect the health of riders and transit workers. 

MTA spokeswoman Amanda Kwan said the transit agency immediately takes trains out of service and treats subway cars that come in contact with bedbugs. 

"More than 5.8 million people ride 8,000 subway trains on an average weekday," Kwan said in a statement. "But the MTA has found no bedbug infestations on any trains, and has found and treated bedbugs on only 16 subway cars.

"The MTA is securing the services of a recognized expert to examine our management plan and ensure we are taking all possible steps to ensure the comfort and safety of our employees and customers."

Assembly Member Colton plans to introduce the the bill in Albany, and Council Member Treyger said he will introduce a resolution to the city council. 

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