New York City MTA Sign Subway Train Car NYC Transportation

NYC Transit President Andy Byford defended the MTA's decision to hire outside contractors to clean 100 subway stations and 3,000 train cars at a recent committee meeting, according to an article on the Mass Transit website.

The deal, which costs an estimated $9.5 million, nearly resulted in a union picket.

At the meeting, MTA Board member Veronica Vanterpool said she was surprised by the new cleaning initiative. She also questioned why the cleanings are being done in the middle of winter, when salt and dirt are dragged into the subway system. Byford said it was because trains and stations deteriorate in the winter, that extra effort was needed.

The MTA currently employs 1,889 station cleaners, and 1,076 additional cleaners in its car equipment division. But the MTA said that the existing staff isn't equipped with the same tools as the outside contractors.

The MTA reached an agreement with Local 100, which represents the workers, that makes these cleanings a one-time deal and assigns two union cleaners to each contractor cleaning crew to study their techniques.

Much of the station cleaning was done overnight. Crews with long-nosed power washers scrubbed walls and platforms and wiped down the entrance area near the turnstiles. The outside crews also used sand blasters and special sponges. Eight firms completed cleaning work at 15 stations, according to an article on the New York Daily News website.