How Frontline Transit Operators Can Avoid Covid-19

As a Bus Driver You Can Feel Like A Sitting Duck. Here’s What You Can Do To Help Reduce Your Chance Of Getting Covid-19 At Work

Transit Operators have always been the underappreciated heroes of the workforce. You get most of the blame when something goes wrong while never receiving some of the praise when things go right.

Come to think of it we can’t recall the last time we’ve seen any sort of transit-related incentive similar to the ones we see for nurses, first responders, and veterans.

Its a tough gig and Coronavirus didn’t make it any better

Transit works were one of the leaders in Covid related deaths by industry. New York alone lost nearly 200 drivers.

With most transit agencies set to presume normal farebox procedures in the coming weeks, here is how air can help reduce your risk as an operator.

Open All Of Your Windows, Including Your Emergency Hatch As Well As Drivers Side.

How One Man Spread The Virus To 9 Other Passengers.

As time would go on, as a nation we would begin to understand that Covid-19’s primary way of travel would be by way of airborne droplets, not surface contact as we initially presumed.

AC has been linked to transfer the Covid-19 making its way through entire rooms, regardless of Social Distancing. This includes Transit Buses.

American and Chinese researchers have found that 23 people riding a bus caught coronavirus after a previously-diagnosed asymptomatic passenger, regardless of other passengers’ proximity to the individual, spread the virus via the bus’s ventilation system.

According to the unpublished study, bus air conditioning systems may accelerate the spread of coronavirus by circulating air within confined spaces, with the research also noting that masks may also be ineffective on buses.

The researchers drew their conclusions after examining a case in which 23 out of 67 passengers on a trip were diagnosed with coronavirus via an asymptomatic passenger, through the bus’s centralized ventilation system, whereas the use of that same bus later on, without an asymptomatic passenger did not result in cases of infection.

Researchers estimate that passengers sitting close to the asymptomatic passenger were not more prone to infection than those sitting far away. This led to the conclusion that the air conditioning system and the enclosed environment helped spread the virus.

This theory was piggybacked upon in a recent publication from a restaurant. Though social distancing measures were in place, one person managed to infect nearly 9 other patrons all of whom were 6+ feet away.

Sustainable Bus wrote a great set of recommendations to how to use your buses AC properly and help reduce to spread of pathogens If you dont feel like reading the entire article we’ve pasted them in their entirety below.

Operational recommendations during the outbreak:

1、 During the epidemic period, it is not recommended to use air conditioning for vehicles. It is recommended to open windows for ventilation or use skylight exhaust fans to achieve the effect of rapid air exchange in the compartment.

2、 It is not recommended to use the air conditioner fresh air alone; if the air conditioner fresh air function is required, the windows and skylight exhaust fans must be opened simultaneously, which allows the rapid circulation of fresh air inside the compartment and the air conditioner, and to avoid the spread of air pollution in the compartment.

3、 Disinfect the air duct and return air port in accordance with the bus.

4、 If you need to use the fresh air function of the air conditioner to ventilate the compartment, please do the following:

1) Take out the dust screen of the air conditioner every day and clean it outside the vehicle at least once. The filter screen can be soaked in the chlorine-containing disinfectant with an effective chlorine concentration of 250mg / l-500mg / L for 30 minutes, then rinse it with clean water and dry it before use.

Note: It is not recommended to use alcohol for disinfection. If you use alcohol, it takes 30 minutes to fully volatilize, and then check and dry the screen before use to avoid potential fire safety risks.

2) The air conditioner is equipped with air purification and disinfection, anion purification and ozone disinfection functions. Users can increase the use of this function to disinfect and purify the carriage air.

3) The air outlet in the driver’s area should be closed. Because the driver works long hours, it is recommended to open the side window glass to inject fresh air into the driver and the compartment to avoid the transmission of viruses to the driver’s area.

By keeping the bus moving you can create vortexes of fresh air circulating in and out of the windows. Introducing a natural and rapid airflow that can disrupt a pathogens trajectory, breaking the concentration of infectious particles circulating throughout your bus.

Please view our diagrams below for a mental picture of how a disrupted airflow can make it extremely difficult for airborne viruses to travel throughout your bus.

Clean Air Flow
Contaminated Air Flow
Disrupted Airflow

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