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January 2022

Public transport hygiene: how to keep passengers and staff safe

Written by Bakang Kganyago
Cleanliness and Hygiene

Read our latest blog to find out more about public transport hygiene and the measures public transport operators can take to keep passengers and staff safe.

With travel restrictions easing, large numbers of people have been using public transportation again and this means that many people find themselves close together in confined spaces - which make hygiene and infection prevention a major priority for operators such as airports, bus and train stations.

Contaminated surfaces and airborne transmission are major concerns for people travelling on trains, buses or planes - due to the fact that travellers have to sit or stand close together for long periods of time, not only in the mode of transport itself but also in waiting areas such as airports lounges or queues.

Infection through cross-contamination

In one of our older blogs - Hidden Germs in Malls - we talked about the hygiene concerns within malls. Similarly, any area that receives a high level of traffic opens itself to hygiene issues as people naturally come into contact with multiple surfaces. In the case of public transport, places such as ticket counters, waiting areas, bathrooms, railings, handles, seats, windows etc are all hygiene concerns due to their "high-touch" nature.

In addition, when inside the vehicle, passengers and staff members have to share the air within a confined space - and thus potentially exchange respiratory aerosols (suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in the air) containing virus particles. These can easily spread as they stay afloat and travel within the enclosed space, meaning that one person can infect multiple people who may be meters away from them.

You may be interested in our infographic on the transmission of viruses in the air to learn more about public thought on respiratory aerosols following the Covid-19 outbreak. Or watch our webinar: Tackling Coronavirus in the Air for a detailed look at respiratory aerosols.

It’s important that transport operators take all these issues into account and ensure that strict measures are in place to protect passengers and mitigate the threat of cross-contamination. These measures need to account for all areas in the transportation network and not just within the vehicle.

This is especially important as public transportation is the fastest way to spread viruses to the wider population. Here are measures transportation companies and operators can take to protect commuters and employees:

1. Facilities Hygiene Solutions

First and foremost ensure that facilities such as airports, bus terminals and train concourses are well equipped to ensure that commuters are safe before they even board the transport. You can do this by:

2. Vehicle safety

Regular precautionary vehicle disinfection services are important to limiting cross-contamination and keeping commuters safe. This can include nightly disinfection of buses and train carriages to maintain surfaces that are commonly touched when commuters travel.

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Furthermore, make sure there’s enough hand sanitiser present for passengers and staff to use.

Where possible it would be beneficial to install air purifiers in public transport vehicles such as busses. Alternatively, operators can ensure that windows remain open so that there’s a consistent flow of fresh clean air.

As increasing numbers of people return to work, the number of passengers travelling every day will increase and such both passengers and staff will need reassurance that they are safe from infections and that their hygiene needs will be met.

The measures previously mentioned will help mitigate these concerns.

Subscribe to our blog for more information on hygiene solutions you can implement to keep your customers and staff safe, or why not take a look at our various hygiene resources.

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Bakang Kganyago

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang is a Digital Marketing Executive for Rentokil Initial. A germaphobe at heart, he's passionate about learning and sharing insights on how to defeat the enemy we cannot see. Join his journey as he writes about the impact of germs in our daily lives.

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