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Bedbugs have been spotted on at least 14 subway cars in the past month — including Brooklyn’s N train — and a Bensonhurst assemblyman wants the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to sound the horn whenever the dreaded pests are found on a train or bus, but the state agency says there is no need to inform the public of when creepy crawlies are hitching a ride.
But with the school year starting, one local said parents need to know if they should check their children’s backpacks and clothing.
“The mothers should know,” said Vincent Sampieri, who lives in Gravesend. “They could check kids’ clothes when they come home.”
Two local elected officials are pushing for a new state law to require a public announcement of bedbug sightings within 24 hours, using the existing system for announcing train delays.
“I am introducing legislation which is going to require the MTA to notify the public by the means they already have available when they have subway diversions or delays,” said Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst). “The law requires it — it is not going to be in the discretion of some bureaucratic agency making a decision whether it is important or not.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority counters that it removes trains from the system as soon as there is a bedbug sighting, so there is no need for a formal protocol for alerting riders.
“Why would there be?” said Adam Lisberg, a spokesman for the authority. “As soon as we get a report that a bedbug might have been spotted anywhere in the MTA, we immediately take the train out of service.”
Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), who is sponsoring a Counsil resolution supporting Colton’s bill, pointed out that dealing with a bedbug infestation at home can cost thousands of dollars, and many of the people who rely on mass transit aren’t able to afford the costly process.
“Let’s be clear — the working class families ride the subways and the buses,” said Treyger. “They can’t afford to bring bedbugs back into their homes and replace their furniture and bedding and clothing every single time they ride the train.”
©2014 Community News Group
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