Taking the Bus: 4 Ways to Keep Drivers and Riders Safe

In 2018, the American Public Transportation Association recorded that Americans had taken 9.9 billion trips on public transportation. Buses make up over 50% of all public transportation providers, resulting in a huge demand for creating a safe place for riders and drivers alike. Here are a few ways to help create a safe, clean environment.

1. Increase ventilation and promote better air flow, removing air from within the bus and replacing it with outside air.

Studies have shown that air flow has a large role in the safety of enclosed spaces. In an example looking at tuberculosis, a pathogen that is transmitted through the air, it was shown that in modes of transportation with better ventilation rates of transmission were decreased. Adjusting the air conditioning and even opening windows would aid in improving ventilation.

2. Avoid creating a toxic atmosphere on the bus with harmful chemicals.

Many traditional cleaning methods used by public transportation agencies have chemicals that can be harmful to employees applying them, as well as passengers and drivers who use the bus afterwards. These chemicals can be dangerous not only for humans interacting with them, but also for the environment as these chemicals may be responsible for the creation of “superbugs.”

3. Use no-touch decontamination methods to disinfect every part of the bus, including the vents.

No-touch decontamination allows for a whole space to be disinfected without putting anyone at risk. This includes disinfection of the vents where pathogens may grow and be circulated when the air conditioner is used. A study with Baker, a leading company in the production of scientific equipment, demonstrated the effectiveness of no-touch decontamination even through HEPA filters. By disinfecting the vents, the safety of the entire ventilation system can be ensured.

4. Increase the regularity of disinfection for buses traveling higher risk routes.

This would include routes with higher traffic, routes with stops in economically-disadvantaged areas, and routes that include hospitals. A study performed in relation to the Houston Tuberculosis Initiative database showed that transmission of tuberculosis tended to be significantly higher in these routes, as compared to routes with fewer at-risk passengers. Increasing disinfection in these routes would help to compensate for the associated risks.

In addition to following these steps, it is important to stay educated on the topics of decontamination and reach out to experts on disinfection. By doing this, the current and future safety of drivers and riders alike can be ensured.