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MTA hires full-time station and train cleaners to improve New York subways

Full-time subway cleaners are replacing contractors the MTA hired in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a long-term effort to clean trains and stations for passengers and subway employees. the agency.

NYC Transit President Rich Davey said Tuesday that 150 cleaners had been hired in recent months and that, in all, the agency planned to hire 800 people to clean stations and trains.

“We’ve been doing it since the fall,” he said of the hiring efforts. “Right now we are hiring around 40 per month.”

“We had 75,000 applicants, if you can imagine that,” he added.

In the early days of the pandemic, the MTA spent $193 million hiring private contractors to wash trains and stations, at a time when commuters and workers especially feared subway filth could spread disease.

Contract workers, who scrubbed the subways at night so other essential workers could get to their jobs during the shutdown, were often underpaid and lacked insurance benefits, a situation that drew complaints from the subway’s unionized workforce.

The new cleaners will be full-time union employees, Davey confirmed.

At the height of the pandemic, the MTA hired contractors whose workers scrubbed down trains and subway stations.

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Davey spoke about the new hires after a meeting at MTA headquarters of the subway system’s 19 group station managers, responsible for maintaining station groups in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.

At the meeting, station managers shared their strategies for improving cleanliness and safety.

“One of the questions I ask (station workers) is, ‘Would the condition you see here today in a store that you frequent be acceptable?’” said Santerea Flowers, who manages several stations in the Bronx.

Managers showed off before-and-after photos of repainted and resurfaced stations across the city, the results of the weekend’s renovation efforts.

“I think for commuters, people are paying attention that we’re not accepting dilapidated stations as the status quo,” Davey said.

Meanwhile, Davey said, his message to his station managers was simple:

“Do you need 80 scrubber dryers? Made. Need more station cleaners? Made. Need the power to change station cleaning schedules? Made.”

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