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Public transportation companies take precautions during coronavirus outbreak

HRT buses.jpg
Posted at 3:42 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 16:41:50-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— Buses, trains and ferries are just a few of the places where viruses can spread quickly, and public transit systems say they’re taking extra steps to protect passengers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Hampton Roads Transit says they’re doing additional cleaning on surfaces that are constantly being touched throughout the day, like handles and railings.

At the Downtown Norfolk bus transfer center, HRT employees tackled the hard surfaces with which passengers often come into contact. They’re spraying and wiping down the seats and armrests as well as all the small buttons on the pin pad of the ticket machine.

“All hard surfaces like handholds and railings are wiped down. Windows are wiped down, the steering wheel and the dashboard area for the driver is also wiped down and then after that morning run, the bus comes back through and that process is repeated,” says Hampton Roads Transit spokesperson Tom Holden.

HRT says the same thing is happening on the light rail, ferry and paratransit systems.

“We’re concerned about the spread of any kind of illness. What we’re doing to make sure that we can do our part is to step up the cleaning of all surfaces that customers in our employees may come in to regular contact with,” says Holden.

But when it comes to actual bus stops, people should be more careful of what they touch.

"There’s not much we can do at bus stops if you’re standing outside… we can’t control the environment very well,” he says.

HRT is encouraging passengers to follow the recommended precautions of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and covering your cough with your elbow or tissue.

Like HRT, Greyhound and Amtrak are following the same recommendations from the CDC.

Related: Coronavirus impacts cruise ship passengers; what to do if you're planning a trip

Amtrak is increasing supplies of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for customers and employees throughout their buses, trains and stations, as well as continuing to clean multiple times a day.

During a time of high coronavirus concern, Amtrak is waiving change fees on all reservations made before April 30. Meanwhile, Greyhound is allowing customers to re-book trips and travel later this year