Bed Bugs on New York City Public Transportation System

I was a little freaked out when I found out that the San Francisco BART system seats tested positive for large amounts of human excrement–of both kinds.  So I was glad when they replaced the fabric seats with the sleeker kind you can hose down.

I always figured the New York subway system was safe because it doesn’t have fabric and can be hosed down.  In fact, I’ve seen subway trains hosed down.

It turns out there are cushions in the area where the conductors and other staff can sit in each car.  And that’s where they were living.

From the NY Daily News:

Bedbugs were discovered on at least three subway trains on the N line this week, authorities said.

Two trains were taken out of service Sunday after the unwanted riders were found onboard some cars, officials said. And on Tuesday, a third N train was also sent to the Coney Island yard in Brooklyn for fumigation. Some of the bugs were found in seat cushions in train cabs, which are used by conductors and motormen, sources said.

Read more:

Bedbugs won’t come out when an area is highly trafficked.  But be careful if you are in a very slow car.  Someone getting up or sitting down on the cushioned seat could disturb bed bugs who would run for a more stable place to hide–like a suitcase.

The chances even then are still relatively low.  So I think we’ll all be fine.  Do check for bedbugs in your New York hotel though!


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. I heard on the bus at a popular Mickey hotel in Florida about a couple having to move rooms at 2 AM due to bed bugs.

  2. Some of the public buses in NYC have cushioned seats though. I normally opt to stand if they’re cushioned. I wonder if it’s possible to get bedbugs from suitcases at the airport?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      One thing I read said bed bugs prefer non-moving things to moving things, so if there’s a place they can hide without being disturbed, they’ll go there first.

      The problem with cushioned seats/mattresses/etc is that someone sits on them, really disturbing them, and they’ll run to a suitcase, etc. That’s one reason many people recommend never keeping your suitcase on the bed.

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