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Metro buses taking new measures to keep passengers and drivers safe

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison Metro Transit is taking extra precautions to keep drivers and passengers safe after a bus driver tested positive for COVID-19 last Thursday.

Buses are an essential service to the community and they allow people to travel to grocery stores and schools, according to Mick Rusch, the Marketing Customer Services Manager at Metro Transit. 

There are about 130 buses going out on the street everyday to provide transportation for people in the area.

Even though buses are still running, protecting the public and bus operators is a priority for Metro Transit. 

The maintenance manager, Jeff Butler, said the buses get cleaned everyday using a method called fogging. 

“We have the mechanics put on their personal protection equipment and then we fill up our foggers.” Butler said. “We start at the rear of the bus fogging all touchpoints and moving forward from there.”

Touchpoints on the bus include pull chords, window surfaces, door handles/rails, and seats. 

These foggers are filled with a disinfectant called tuberculocide, it’s a more concentrated chemical found in products like Lysol according to the Environmental Protection Agency

“It’s actually one of the ones recommended by the EPA to kill coronavirus. It’s the heaviest duty cleaner that you can use right now outside of bleach,” Butler said. 

After mechanics spray the disinfectant in the buses, they close the windows and doors, turn the bus on for five minutes, shut it off, and let the bus sit overnight. 

Butler said the buses can be used four to five hours after it was disinfected. 

If all of the buses can’t be cleaned in a day, they still take measures to keep buses clean and sanitized. 

“If we can't get to all of the buses in a day, we physically wipe it down with bleach and water mixture,” Butler said. 

Beyond Metro Transit cleaning surfaces inside of the bus, passengers should stay six feet away from the driver and other riders but also to enter and exit through the back door of the bus. 

“I know it’s not always easy to do this on the bus, we’re asking everybody to their best,” Rusch said. 

It’s also going to take teamwork to prevent the spread of the virus in the community.

“We’re doing our part to keep the buses clean, but we’re also asking our riders to do their part and practice social distancing,” Rusch said.

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Alyssa Hui

WKOW News

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