MTA should notify public about bedbugs on trains, politician says

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton discuss proposed legislation requiring the MTA to inform the public of bedbugs on city buses or subway trains. (Credit: Jane Gayduk )

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After a spate of reports about bedbugs hitching rides on the subway, a Brooklyn lawmaker wants the MTA to notify the public within 24 hours when the biting critters are found in the system.

Assemb. William Colton (D-Brooklyn) said the MTA has the means to make the notification the same way it tracks diversions and delays.

"We can give assurance to the public that if there is a problem they will be able to find out; they will have the confidence that the law requires it," Colton said.

The MTA defended how it handles bedbug complaints, noting that trains are immediately taken out of service, inspected, and treated inside the car.

"The MTA has found no bedbug infestations on any trains, and has found and treated bedbugs on only 16 subway cars," MTA spokeswoman Amanda Kwan said in a statement.

City Councilman Mark Treyger of Gravesend, Brooklyn, said he backs an official public announcement on bedbugs instead of hearing about them through word-of-mouth.

"We should not find these things out through people coming home and saying 'I was bitten on the train' or they saw a bug crawling on the train," Treyger said.

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