MTA Press Releases

Press Release
April 25, 2020
MTA Significantly Expands Locations for Employee Temperature Testing Since Launch
More Than 60,000 Temperature Checks Have Been Done to Date at Over 70 Locations

More Than 3,500 Employee Temperatures Checked Daily

See Photos and Video of Temperature Brigade in Action

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has significantly expanded the locations where employee temperatures are being checked, at over 70 strategic, rotating locations up from seven at program inception in March.  More than 3,500 employee temperatures are being checked per day. This dramatically expanded program is helping to reduce the spread of the virus as the organization battles the COVID-19 pandemic, with quarantines down almost 50% from their peak, at 3,226, and the number of MTA employees who have returned to work up more than 50% in one week, at 6,457.  More than 60,000 MTA employee temperature checks have been done to date.

"Our goal is to provide the optimal level of protection for our heroic employees, as well as extend that assurance to essential workers riding our trains and buses," said MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren. “We are heading toward having our Temperature Brigade Program test our entire workforce periodically prior to their reporting to work, an important measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” 

The MTA Temperature Brigade is drawn from across the MTA, including NYC Transit safety and security personnel, LIRR fire marshals and the Metro-North fire brigade, as well as 60 contract workers, all medically trained, deployed 24/7 to locations covering all MTA agencies.

Temperatures are now being checked at 71 reporting locations systemwide, including 40 subway, 13 MTA PD, 10 bus, four Long Island Rail Road, three Metro-North, and one Bridges & Tunnels location. These locations include bus depots and shops, train service delivery crew reporting facilities, stations, train car and right-of-way maintenance facilities, bus and subway control centers and a central operations training location. 

The Temperature Brigade Program checks all employees entering a work location using contactless thermal scan thermometers on foreheads. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher is sent home and instructed to seek medical guidance and report back to the MTA. 

The Brigade started at seven sites on March 13 and has ramped up the program every day since. On April 23, 3,559 employees had been tested for the day. The fever rate being found by the Brigade is extremely low - approximately 1 out of every 1,000 employees checked.  

The MTA has taken aggressive action to battle the COVID-19 pandemic since the early days of its arrival in New York. The organization has distributed millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, including 3.2 million pairs of gloves and 1.15 million masks, since March 1. In order to protect employees, the MTA also disregarded federal guidance and began handing out masks to all employees before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later issued new guidance recommending all Americans wear masks. The MTA continues its comprehensive disinfecting efforts with stations and high-touch areas disinfected twice a day and rollingstock disinfected nightly, with the operating fleets for all agencies completed every 72 hours or less.

The MTA has also implemented rear-door boarding and eliminated cash transactions to prevent person-to-person contact to ensure the safety of operating employees. The MTA has also installed 123 plexiglass barriers across 54 subway work locations to promote safe work environments, and additional installations continue. We have also installed 93 plexiglass barriers at work locations at all 28 bus depots and three central maintenance facilities. A pilot program is underway to install vinyl shields on buses to further separate operators and customers.

The MTA also announced a new partnership with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care to provide prioritized COVID-19 testing to symptomatic frontline MTA workers at its 52 urgent care facilities throughout the New York metropolitan region. The health and safety of the MTA’s employees and customers continues to be the agency’s top priority.