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Coronavirus

Metro Transit Adds New Technology To COVID Safety Measures

Metro Transit officials say a new antimicrobial technology will make the transit experience safer. Maintenance employees will use a fogging device that creates a protective barrier on surfaces lasting 30 days.
Metro Transit
Metro Transit officials say a new antimicrobial technology will make the transit experience safer. Maintenance employees will use a fogging device that creates a protective barrier on surfaces lasting 30 days.

Metro Transit is kicking up its safety measures a notch a year into the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Monday, Metro Transit will use a new antimicrobial technology to reduce the spread of bacteria, viruses and other germs on its transit systems. Its maintenance crews will use a fogging device to create a protective barrier on surfaces that lasts for 30 days.

Bi-State Development President and CEO Taulby Roach said the new technology is a game-changer.

“This product allowed us to add an extra element of protection for the health of the public and for our customers,” Roach said. “And what we want to show the public is that we're going to take every measure that we can to create a system that is safe and clean and ready for them.”

Metro Transit spent eight months searching for a product that would cut down on the growth of microbes. Roach said the fogging device had the best coverage and better adhered to high-touch surfaces.

“Being able to have a product that worked hand in hand with our normal disinfecting efforts that of course we’ll still do nightly just made more sense and was much more cost-effective, and so the fogging agents really seem to work well,” Roach said.

The fogging device uses a water-based and alcohol-free chemical that will be used on Metro buses, MetroLink trains and Metro Call-A-Ride vans. This will be done in tandem with the routine nightly cleanings that have been taking place throughout the pandemic.

This latest safety measure follows a string of precautions Metro Transit has put in place to protect its employees and customers. Masks were implemented early on, as well as access to PPE and Plexiglas barriers to give transit operators another layer of protection.

“They’re out there running their shifts, and we need to be sure to be vigilant and to back them up as best we can,” Roach said.

Roach said getting workers vaccinated has already been prioritized. Three events were held where roughly 950 employees were vaccinated. He said Metro Transit sought vaccination resources in Illinois and Missouri but was only able to secure them in Illinois so far.

“I have an employment number of roughly 2,400,” Roach said, “right around 1,600 of which are operators. So we want to continue to move that number up incrementally as people get more comfortable getting the vaccination. And we will of course want to do it on a voluntary basis, so that we’re all healthy and that we’re all moving forward.”

Like many, Roach said, he wants to get on the other side of the pandemic. He said the transit system upping its safety protocols is one way to get there.

“I think part of that measure is being sure that we are showing the public that we are responsive and that we’re taking our obligation to create a system that is safe and healthy,” he said.

Follow Marissanne on Twitter: @Marissanne2011

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