MTA Buses Quarantined Due To Possible Bed Bug Infestation
At least half a dozen New York City buses were taken out of service due to possibility of bed bugs. In this representational image, Oscar Rincon holds a glass vial containing live bedbugs he uses to train dogs for The Bedbug Inspectors in the Queens borough of New York, July 26, 2010. Getty Images/Stan Honda

At least half a dozen New York City buses will be taken away by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) due to concerns of bed bug infestation, a report on ABC7 said.

The buses were being kept in isolation on the outskirts of the Kingsbridge Bus Depot, the report added. The vehicles were quarantined and taken out of service after the drivers of the buses complained about bed bugs crawling in the seats of at least six buses. The drivers said the bugs were present for the past three weeks.

"This is the most I've seen this year," union shop steward Michael Enriquez told ABC7 on Monday night. "Usually we would never see buses knocked out for bed bugs. It seems to be an epidemic that's spreading.”

No report mentioned the routes that would be affected due to the quarantine, and MTA has also not put out any statement. The International Business Times has reached out to the MTA regarding the same.

A video taken by ABC7News shows the affected buses. Among them, a 116 bus, which runs from West Side to East Harlem can be seen clearly. All the buses had “Hold, Bed Bugs” written on the front windows with red paint.

"I haven't heard anybody talk about it, nothing," a transit rider Cathy Myres said. "I'm going to take the train more often."

According to the drivers, when buses are suspected to have bed bugs, they are flagged for inspection at the end of a shift. To some drivers, the report came as a surprise. Union leaders told ABC7 finding bed bugs on the buses were unusual, but added not unheard of.

"At one point in time our buses were regularly fumigated and there would be a sticker placed on the bus with a note that it was fumigated," Enriquez said. "This practice seems to have ceased for whatever reasons.”

The report said an MTA spokesman downplayed the incident when the channel reached out Monday night.

"We have no confirmed samples of bed bugs on buses; this is a precautionary measure,” the spokesman said. "When a bus is suspected of having bed bugs we immediately quarantine it for inspection, and treatment is done if necessary.”

"Imagine sitting home, not knowing about it, and the next thing you know you have bed bugs in your apartment, on your child and you're seeing marks on your child and you're thinking it's coming from somewhere else, and it's coming from the city buses," Donald Sheehan, who stays at Inwood in Manhattan, New York, said.

In a similar, but unrelated incident, more than a dozen cockroaches were discovered on an MTA bus in November 2017.

They were caught on camera by a daily commuter, 18-year-old Breyona Reynolds. She was riding the bus after work one day when she found a nest of bugs near her.

“Some of [the cockroaches] were, like, sitting; they were going in and out of a hole. They were crawling in that area, and that was the nasty part about it,” Reynolds said.

“We routinely treat our fleet for pests and recently stepped up our treatments,” Sandy Arnette, a spokesperson with MTA, responded to the incident with a statement that said, “Exterminators were out on some routes this past weekend.”