CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has rolled out its plan to enhance its cleaning program for all buses, trains, and paratransit vehicles in response to concerns about coronavirus. 

The plan, which will begin on Monday, calls for RTA staff to clean all touchable surfaces on board its vehicles with a cleaning agent recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

Buses, which carry 85% of the system’s riders, will be sanitized at least every 24 hours. Rail cars will be sanitized every 72 hours.

“We want our riders to know that we will clean every bus, every day and that it’s safe to ride RTA. Our mission is to provide safe, reliable, clean and courteous public transportation. With the public’s concern of the spread of this virus, we’re pleased to announce that we’re taking this additional step,” said RTA CEO and General Manager India Birdsong in a release.

RTA says that other transit systems, including the MTA in New York, began a similar cleaning protocol for its buses and trains this week. 

In addition to disinfecting its buses and trains, Birdsong also says RTA officials are stepping up methods of communicating ways for its employees to keep themselves healthy. 

“We’ve met with our bus and rail district employees and have sent communications to all our staff, because we want them to know that it’s important that they keep themselves healthy, for their own sake, and so that we can stay on the job and available to the riding public. We each have a critical role to play in helping to keep Cleveland moving. Our customers rely on us every day to get to where they need to go,” Birdsong added.

Bus and rail operators and other RTA staff have been provided with disinfectant wipes to keep work stations clean throughout the day. Janitorial staff are also disinfecting touchable surfaces in RTA facilites. 

There are no cases of coronavirus reported in Ohio. Three people are awaiting test results according to the Ohio Department of Health. 

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“We want to emphasize to our customers and our employees that there is no need to panic or be fearful," said Birdsong. "Here in Cleveland, the RTA is following the guidelines issued by the Cleveland Health Department and the CDC that are applicable to this region. Now is the time to take preventative measures, and there are simple methods you can employ to keep yourself and others around you, healthy. This is a community effort. We’re asking customers to follow the preventative measures outlined by the CDC, and we’re asking our employees to do the same.”

RTA is also reminding customers and employees of the following:

  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer when available
  • Data shows that the incidents of flu and cold are cut by 50% simply by washing your hands. Data also shows that some 30% of people fail to wash their hands throughout the day. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of regular hand washing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow
  • Keep hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms, please stay at home to reduce the risk of spreading any illness
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces routinely

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