RTD introduces changes to enhance revenue vehicle cleaning procedures for bus and light rail

As RTD continues to navigate the landscape of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on cleaning and sanitation has never been stronger. As the pandemic evolves, so does RTD’s need to adapt its response. Therefore, on Sunday, June 19, RTD’s Service and Cleaning, in conjunction with Bus Operations and Maintenance, Light Rail Operations and Maintenance, and Safety and Environmental Compliance, switched to a new cleaning solution for revenue vehicles that promises more efficiency than the electrostatic sprayers that are currently in use.

When the pandemic began, taking into account staffing numbers and volume of work needed to sanitize every vehicle in RTD’s revenue fleet, the cleaning teams purchased electrostatic sprayers, which would allow the sanitation teams to effectively clean an entire vehicle in five minutes or less. At the time, this was the most effective and efficient way to clean each vehicle before they began their service day. However, as time went on, more people emerged from the height of the pandemic to return to work, school and getting on with their day-to-day lives. Naturally, this led to more customers returning to public transportation, filling up once-empty buses and trains, and a need to revisit how these vehicles are cleaned.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that devices such as electrostatic sprayers (which are classified as a pesticidal device, per the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]) aerosolize chemicals, which can stay in the air for long periods of time. This could lead to the aerosolized chemicals and vapors irritating the eyes, skin or airways of those within the area, as well as other potential health issues for those who breathe it in. Additionally, electrostatic sprayers are not included on the EPA’s List N, which recognizes surface disinfectants and products registered by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel human coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Taking this guidance into consideration, as well as considering the increase in customers and vehicles that need to be cleaned as compared to when the pandemic first started, RTD is shifting away from the electrostatic sprayers to a new cleaning solution that is more effective and efficient at eliminating germs and viruses, including COVID-19. The new hydrogen peroxide-based solution, which is included on the EPA’s List N, can eliminate viruses on surfaces in one minute or less, without the need for aerosols that could cause discomfort to those in proximity of the previous solution. The new solution does not leave a residue on surfaces, and does not need to be pre-mixed, meaning it can be used instantaneously.