In recent years COVID-19 and other public health & safety concerns have affected the ridership in a lot of public transportation sectors. This has people demanding better cleaning and disinfecting in public transportation vehicles, hubs, and terminals in hopes of restoring ridership. It is an important step in helping people with limited access to personal transportation to get to work, school, run errands, and make it on time to medical appointments.

In response, public transportation and mass transit agencies around the world have started escalating their cleaning, sanitizing, and maintenance requirement to help protect riders, as well as employees, and prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19 to the general population.

Though this is no small task, and even the slightest errors or accidents can have a profound effect on ridership as well as the reputation of public transportation systems. If you manage a public transportation service or transit authority and you are concerned about the health & safety of your riders, operators, and essential employees, you can take the following steps to help clean and sanitize every facet of your system.

Implement Social Distancing Reminders

Social distancing is still a recommended strategy for children, the unvaccinated, and people who are concerned about “Break Through” infections of COVID-19. Though it’s also a sound strategy for helping to limit the spread of other illnesses such as Influenza and RSV. Durable floor stickers and signs can help remind riders, operators, and essential employees of the need to practice social distance in terminals, hubs, and indoor waiting areas.

Thoroughly Clean High Touch Surfaces

High-touch surfaces can hold the COVID-19 virus as well as other dangerous pathogens. Make sure to sanitize high-touch surfaces daily, if not multiple times per day. This includes:

  • Kiosks
  • Turnstiles
  • Benches
  • Support railings
  • Handrails
  • Handicap accessible rails
  • Garbage cans
  • Door handles
  • Payphones
  • Restroom surfaces
  • Faucets
  • Counters
  • Light switches
  • Poles
  • Seats
  • Benches
  • Grab bars
  • Exit buttons.


These areas should be cleaned using a high-quality detergent or disinfectant soap and water. Be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. The EPA provides a list of recommended cleaning and disinfecting products on its website.

Clean & Maintain Soft & Porous Surfaces

The unfortunate reality is that a lot of soft, porous surfaces such as carpeting, floor rugs, and drapes, can also hold contamination and potentially harmful microbes. These surfaces need to be cleaned with appropriate cleaners indicated by the manufacturer.

Provide Employees & Operators With PPEs

While it’s obvious that drivers and operators need to wear masks and use other appropriate personal protection equipment when needed, essential employees, customer service representatives, and cleaning technicians also need to be provided with the appropriate level of PPEs. Especially those who are responsible for cleaning vehicles and other high-traffic transportation areas. Afterward, everyone needs to be encouraged to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds after removing their PPEs.

Provide Employees & Operators With Advanced Training

The right tool can still be used the wrong way in the hands of an untrained employee or operator. Make sure to take the time to offer training and continuing education on how to use all cleaning equipment, as well as the safe and proper use of PPEs. This is especially important for cleaning technicians, as well as operators who deal with the public throughout their shift.

Invest In Quality Equipment

The quality of equipment and cleaning products used will also impact the overall effectiveness of your sanitation program. Fortunately, COVID-19 has made high-quality sanitizers and disinfectants more readily available than ever before. Make sure employees are trained to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Encourage them to freely ask questions and provide them with any advanced training needed to make sure that the cleaning products and sanitizing equipment are used properly.

Invest In No-Touch Cleaning Systems

One of the newest innovations to get a much-needed boost during the COVID-19 era is state-of-the-art, No-Touch Cleaning systems. This cutting-edge technology combines chemical metering and cleaning solution injection in an indoor pressure washer. The unit includes a specially engineer wet vacuum that is up to 60 times more effective in reducing bacterial contamination than mops. This allows your cleaning technicians to affect an astonishingly high level of cleaning and sanitizing, without having to touch a potentially contaminated surface with their own two hands.

Invest In Smart Towel Paper Towel Dispensers

Paper towels and paper towel dispensers have long been an area of concern when it comes to microbial cross-contamination. When an individual with contaminated hands touches a conventional paper towel dispenser they inevitably leave behind a small number of microbes. This can then transfer to the hands of the next person who uses the paper towel dispenser after washing their hands with soap and water.

A “Smart Towel” dispenser uses motion technology to recognize when a person’s hands are under the dispenser and distributes a portion of paper towel. This can be installed in bathrooms in terminals and hubs as well as on larger vehicles like public transportation busses. This lets maintenance workers wipe down surfaces with a fresh section of the towel.

Install Hand Sanitizer Stations At All Entry & Exit Points

Hand sanitizer dispensers seem to be everywhere these days. Though they are sometimes missing in some of the most obvious of places, including public transportation hubs, terminals, and mass transit vehicles. Make sure that there are hand sanitizer dispensers near all entry and exits areas, as well as other high-touch areas. Then make checking them and refilling them a priority element of an employee or operator’s shift.

Hire A Professional Cleaning Company For Deep Cleaning

It can be hard to task employees with deep cleaning. Hiring additional staff just to clean terminals, hubs and transportation vehicles can have a massive impact on what is already a strained mass transit budget.

Instead, consider contacting a professional cleaning company like Building Services Inc. to deep clean vehicles and places of public accommodation during slow or off-hours. We have the highly trained staff and access to professional-grade cleaning equipment needed to quickly, safely, and effectively clean all areas of concern.