How Safe Is Public Transit As The Coronavirus Spreads In Colorado? | KUNC

How Safe Is Public Transit As The Coronavirus Spreads In Colorado?

Mar 11, 2020

Some of our listeners have asked how thoroughly public transportation in Colorado is being cleaned, and what to do if they notice a sick passenger on their ride.

The answer:

Public transit agencies across the state are stepping up cleaning efforts as the coronavirus continues its spread locally.

Passengers using the popular Bustang routes can now get sanitary wipes from drivers upon request.

Bob Wilson, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said riders should communicate any health concerns directly to their driver.

"If we receive a report of a sick individual on a bus, we will immediately — after that ride is complete — we will pull that bus from service and conduct a full cleaning," Wilson said.

The Regional Transportation District's general manager said the agency is purchasing additional sanitation products, including hand sanitizer, gloves and wipes for employees and riders. RTD is also encouraging bus and rail operators to keep their work stations clean by wiping down hard surfaces with disinfectants multiple times a day.

The agency is also asking passengers to take precautions to help prevent the virus' spread:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
     
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
     
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
     
  • Stay home when you are sick.
     
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently touched at work and home.
     
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.

In Fort Collins, buses are being cleaned daily with an electrostatic sprayer, according to David Mullin, the senior transit manager for Transfort. The sprayers create a fine mist of positively-charged droplets of disinfectant that cling to every surface inside the vehicles.

"That kills everything," he said, adding that his staff is working overtime to keep passengers healthy. "We have a lot of moving pieces, but our people are really good at what they do."

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, which serves Eagle, Glenwood Springs and Aspen, has started using "foggers" to clean all bus interiors. Foggers are industrial sprayers that emit a stream of disinfectant onto hard surfaces. 

A spokeswoman for RFTA said it hopes to disinfect all buses by the beginning of next week. 

"The safety and well-being of our customers and employees is RFTA's paramount concern," the spokeswoman said. "RFTA is in close contact with local, state, and federal health authorities and is prepared to modify our bus and facility disinfection procedures should conditions change." 

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