The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has downplayed the reported bedbug issue that's said to be plaguing New York City's subway system, but transit insiders said the insect problem is getting worse.
There were at least 21 reported bedbug sightings or encounters in the subway last month, the NY Daily News reported Tuesday, citing undercover transit sources. There were also a few instances where the blood suckers bit conductors and passengers, according to the NY Daily News said.
"We've never had sightings to this magnitude," said Joe Costales, a chairman with Transport Workers Union Local 100. "We've had isolated incidents in crew quarters, but it's no longer an isolated scenario. It's throughout the system."
The bugs were spotted nine times on N trains, three on Q trains, and twice on No. 6 trains, according to the report. They were also seen once each on 3, 4, 5 and L trains, the report said, adding that they were also found in transit worker crew rooms and subway offices.
The MTA said it investigates and exterminates when it receives bedbug complaints. The agency also said it plans to hire a "recognized expert" to review its anti-bedbug efforts.
"More than 5.8 million people ride 8,000 subway trains on an average weekday, but the MTA has found no bedbug infestations on any trains, and has found and treated bedbugs on only 16 trains," MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg on Friday.
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