The authority issues a new “challenge” for tech companies to keep transit safe.

By Annie McDonough, City & State New York

New York isn’t exactly known for a speedy procurement process, or for taking chances on granting state contracts to small companies. But when faced with a global pandemic that threatens the future of public transit, fast-moving startups with innovative solutions may be just what the doctor ordered.

The Transit Tech Lab – an accelerator program for technology startups aimed at solving public transit issues – launched a new, coronavirus-specific challenge on Wednesday, which asks for innovative approaches to make public transit safer as riders return to subways and buses. Those proposals could eventually be piloted and implemented with the MTA, as well as with other participating agencies, including the New York City Department of Transportation, NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "To truly modernize every element of how we run our transit system, you have to look far and wide for new ideas," interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said in a press release. "That means tapping into the city's robust entrepreneurial and technology scenes and thinking in new ways about how a vital institution like New York City Transit can embrace innovation."

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