NY Daily News
A pesky bed bug infestation at a key subway control tower in Queens isn’t going away — and the bloodsuckers could chew up service for the second time in less than week.
More bed bugs were discovered at the facility Monday, five days after the space was shut down during rush hour to be fumigated — a move that caused major delays for thousands of riders across nine different subway lines.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Tim Minton said “one bug” was spotted at the Continental Master Control Tower in Forest Hills on Monday — and that exterminators would again be brought in to fumigate the facility after the evening rush.
“It is conceivable that this bug originated somewhere other than these premises,” said Minton. “We cannot conclude and we do not conclude that the source was internal.”
But transit workers at the tower have complained for weeks about bed bugs in the facility. Union officials and employees with knowledge of the situation charged bosses didn’t take the problem seriously.
An MTA employee with direct knowledge of the situation accused transit officials of a coverup, and said a general superintendent was to blame for the ongoing infestation.
Frank Jezycki, NYC Transit’s chief operating officer for subways, admitted to the Daily News that an exterminator verified the presence of bed bugs at the tower on Jan. 8 and treated the facility.
Jezycki said a manager then identified more bed bugs on Jan. 22 — but the MTA’s exterminator showed up quicker than usual.
Jezycki said said the agency’s exterminator, Abalon Pest Control, has a 24-hour window to respond to complaints, but the company’s worker arrived at the tower just before rush hour, which ended up causing serious headaches for riders.
“There was a truck down the block, a guy says he’s here to treat,” said Jezycki. “We had folks there that put together a contingency plan for service.”
That contingency plan was a nightmare.
Operators who work in the infested control tower direct train traffic through a key relay switch on the E, F, M and R lines.
Crews were unable to direct trains through a crucial interlocking while the building was fumigated last Wednesday, and the lapse caused 236 trains to be delayed and another 117 to be canceled, according to an MTA incident report obtained by The News.
Eric Loegel, vice president of rapid transit operations at Transport Workers Union Local 100, said gripes that the bed bugs may have been living in a set of cloth chairs at the facility went ignored by a tower manager.
There was also this little tidbit closing the Gothamist post on this latest transit disgrace:
Following last week's outbreak, NYC Transit President Andy Byford issued a statement apologizing to customers affected by the delays and assuring employees that they were working to ensure their safety. A few hours later, he announced his resignation.
I mentioned on the Twitter a few times that this was the final straw that caused Byford to snap and say goodbye to all that. Among the myriad other things I point out on Impunity City.