San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Austin, Jacksonville, Charlotte, and San Francisco were all confirmed to handle at least some cleaning of transit vehicles in-house, while Charlotte hired outside company 25-27 cleaning to clean four light rail stations. Much of the information on cleaning was not readily available and had to be inferred from statements made on websites or by authority spokespersons.
Additionally, links to nine articles on what is currently happening in the public transportation cleaning space have been provided below, with brief summaries of each.
- On March 3, VIA Metropolitan Transit announced that “Buses and vans, transit centers, and stops are cleaned daily with a specialized solution that help kill germs that can cause illness, like flu and coronavirus.” At that time they were considering enhanced cleaning protocols.
- On March 8, VIA announced that buses would also be cleaned throughout the day, rather than only at the end of the day. This cleaning was being done by VIA Maintenance Staff.
- The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System also implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, but there is no indication who is performing the cleaning. They talk about “maintenance teams” and “cleaning crews” but this could be in-house or external.
- On May 1, MTS announced that they would be fogging buses, in order to leave “more time for professional cleaners to sanitize areas more frequently touched by passengers.” This may be implying that outside cleaning teams are being used, but nothing was found to confirm this.
- A February job opening posted by MTS on ZipRecruiter showed they were hiring facilities cleaners.
- The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has implemented extensive cleaning procedures for their transit vehicles. There is no indication on the website of whether cleaning is done in-house or by an outside company.
- DART spokesperson Gordon Shattles stated, “We’re wiping down. We’re sanitizing. We’re using EPA-qualified cleaning materials that have been identified to actually remove coronavirus and other viruses as well.” However, there was no indication of who was doing the cleaning.
- A memorandum put out by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which operates public transit in San Jose, specifically states that Service Workers are responsible for cleaning the buses before they take them out, and that bus operators are required to wipe down their vehicle before they start their route.
- No information was found on whether deep cleaning was handled in-house.
- Capital Metro posted job openings for cleaners and operators on March 24. The cleaners were being hired in order to provide more frequent cleaning of buses. This indicates Cap Metro handles cleaning in-house.
- The Jacksonville Transportation Authority indicated in a March 27 press release that “...Transit Operations and Maintenance staff are performing additional cleanings of buses…” This indicates that cleaning is being handled in-house.
- Trinity Metro has very little information available on their website regarding cleaning procedures. “We are taking extra steps to increase the cleaning frequency of high-touch areas such as door handles, railings, seats and benches with disinfectant throughout each shift. Buses, vans and ACCESS vehicles are sanitized daily. Trinity Metro TEXRail trains are disinfected daily after they have been in service. “
- In an April 27 update, Trinity stated that cleaning frequency was happening more frequently while buses were on shift. This seems to indicate the cleaning is being done by the bus operators, but this was not confirmed.
- The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) posted on their website that they are using long-lasting antimicrobial coatings and virus-killing disinfectants to clean. An article on March 12 indicated that COTA was bringing in extra crews overnight to clean. There was no indication whether crews were in-house.
- An article and video posted by The Charlotte Observer showed the contamination protocol being implemented by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS). The woman shown doing the cleaning in the beginning is wearing a CATS uniform, which seems to indicate that cleaning is being handled in-house. However, later in the video, a man is shown using a fogger and he does not appear to be wearing a CATS uniform.
- A 2018 article reported that the City Council had agreed on a contract with 25-27 Cleaning, which involved the company providing cleaning at four light rail facilities.
- The San Francisco MTA mentioned on their website that there were additional bus cleaning programs in place, but there were no details on what this included.
- The 2019 collective bargaining agreement between SFMTA and the workers union indicated that Transit Car Cleaners was one of the jobs covered. This would seem to indicate that cleaning is handled in-house.
Transit Cleaning Media Scan
RTA Allocating Additional Resources to Clean Trains Every 24 hours
- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced enhanced cleaning protocols that would be handled by staff. “RTA staff said it would clean all touchable surfaces on board its vehicles with a cleaning agent recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Buses, which carry 85% of the system’s riders, as well as trains, will now be sanitized at least every 24 hours.”
Best Practices in the Sterilization of Transit Property
- This article from Mass Transit lays out their best practices for ensuring that public transit vehicles are properly disinfected, including having checklists, using the correct cleaners, and having adequate staffing.
More cleaning, hand sanitizer in NC buses, trains and airports to combat coronavirus
- In the Raleigh Durham area, the airport installed hand sanitizer stations and increased the cleaning frequency; Amtrak is cleaning as often as hourly; and GoTriangle is using the same disinfectant they began using during the H1N1 epidemic in 2009.
Bus disinfection strategies highly needed. Public transport and post-Covid19 era
- Sustainable Bus published an article that discussed how “effective bus disinfection procedures will be essential to restore users’ confidence in public transport.” Some methods discussed were UV light, bacteria killing LED lamps, and Marcopolo Fog in Place Onboard.
MTA Invests $1 Million in Ultraviolet Light Machines to Clean Subways
- New York MTA bought 150 UV light devices to eliminate viruses from Puro Lighting, in order to test the technology for disinfecting subways and buses.
TRU-Vu releases cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for touch screens
- TRU-Vu, the company that supplies touch screen monitors for Mass Transit, published specific guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the monitors.
Zonar Helps Metro Fleets Sanitize Buses Through New Electronically Verifiable Process
- Zonar announced that their Electronic Verified Inspection System was able to ensure and document that metro buses had been sanitized in the wake of Covid-19.
Butler Transit Authority Coronavirus
- The Butler Transit Authority “has been using innovative cleaning and disinfecting methods to keep passengers and drivers healthy.” The methods include cold mist foggers and microbe shields.
EPA Researchers Are Evaluating SARS-CoV-2 in the Environment
- The EPA is working with the NY MTA to determine which products are most effective for disinfecting subway cars. Additionally, the researchers are evaluating innovative tech such as UV light, ozone, steam, electrostatic sprayers, and foggers.