PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While many of us stay inside our homes, people who have life-sustaining jobs are still going to work. That includes SEPTA employees, who make sure public transportation continues to run.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, SEPTA has stepped up its cleaning efforts. Service may have been reduced but vehicle operators are still coming into work.
“It’s been busy but we’re keeping up with it,” SEPTA Assistant Director of Maintenance Michael Himes said.
As soon as buses roll in from service, they’re thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
“We clean the buses routinely all day. We clean them then send them back out. Disinfecting is 24 hours,” Himes said.
The buses also getting a deep clean every 14 days. To further curb the spread of COVID-19, SEPTA representatives say the majority of buses with cloth seats have been taken off the roads.
“Not every bus has been retrofitted with the molded plastic but for the most part we’re able to stay with the plastic seats,” Assistant General Manager Scott Sauer said.
— Alecia Reid (@alecia__reid) March 24, 2020
They’re also taking buses that were not equipped with partitions out of service, and adding driver protection shields.
Right now, the 1,100 buses that are barrier-equipped are in service.
“Every bus in service has that protective barrier between the operator and the customer,” Sauer said.
SEPTA Philly urged riders to help flatten the curve and stand at least six feet apart.
With a significant decline in ridership, #SEPTA riders now have plenty of room. If you must ride – please help to #bendthecurve and stand or sit at least six feet from each other. #ISEPTAPHILLY #doyourpart pic.twitter.com/WIioictb0h
— ISEPTAPHILLY (@SEPTAPHILLY) March 24, 2020
Meanwhile, SEPTA’s general manager is sending a word of encouragement to employees.
“I know many of you are feeling the same fears, anxieties and uncertainties that the rest of us are feeling. But rest assured, the health and safety of all of you, as well as customers, is SEPTA’s number one priority,” GM Leslie Richards said.
With the decline in ridership, there’s now more room for people to spread out. SEPTA is urging customers to practice social distancing even while on the bus.