Transit, commuter rail agencies addressing coronavirus concerns

Increased cleaning, disinfection efforts begin as illness spreads
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NJ Transit trains meet in Elizabeth, N.J., in August 2019. The agency is one of several increasing cleaning and disinfecting efforts because of the coronavirus.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Commuter railroads and transit agencies throughout North America are stepping up cleaning efforts to address passenger concerns over the Covid-19 coronavirus spreading across the continent.

Among the efforts reported so far:

NJ Transit said it will “enhance current cleaning procedures,” including “additional disinfection regiments,” and has created a task force to follow coronavirus developments. No cases of the virus have yet been reported in New Jersey.

— New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has “significantly increased the frequency and intensity of its disinfecting procedures,” says CEO Patrick J. Foye. In addition to daily cleaning, the agency is now aiming to disinfect its entire fleet every 72 hours, while surfaces with frequent public contact, such as turnstyles and ticket machines, will be disinfected daily.

— The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has introduced a protocol to clean high-contact surfaces every 4 hours, offer more in-station dispensers of hand sanitizer, and disinfect vehicles on a daily basis.

Global News reports that Toronto-area agency Metrolinx is rolling out a long-lasting disinfectant spray recently tested on GO Transit, has increased cleaning, and is offering more hand sanitizer, and the Toronto Transit Commission has increased cleanings at regular points of contact from weekly to daily. Agencies in Montreal and Vancouver are taking similar precautions.

— In California, Bay Area Rapid Transit was one of the first to act, announcing on Feb. 25 it would increase station and equipment cleaning, add informational posters from public healthy agencies at stations, and communicate with employees about best practices to prevent the spread of the illness.

— In the Seattle area, Sound Transit says it has increased cleaning efforts, and will remove equipment from service after any biohazard incident until it is disinfected.

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