TriMet is taking new steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on buses and trains. They're hiring more cleaners and using ultraviolet lamps that kill germs.
TriMet is quickly bringing on new cleaners so we can increase the disinfecting of common touchpoints on our buses and trains to about every four hours during the service day. This is on the recommendation of the Oregon Health Authority. The first group of 16 cleaners began training yesterday, and we will hire another 20 each week, starting June 29. We expect to add about 124 cleaners and six cleaning supervisors, who join other cleaning staff for our system. More than 300 people with diverse backgrounds and a wide variety of experience have applied for the new cleaning position so far. As we are able to clean vehicles throughout the service day more often, TriMet will follow OHA guidance and move to 3-feet distancing on board. That will increase the number of riders allowed on our buses and trains.
TriMet has added a new device to our cleaning efforts. In addition to the disinfecting fogging machines we began using a few months ago, we are beginning to use germ-killing ultraviolet lamps—also known as UVC lamps—as part of our cleaning efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
TriMet has required face coverings on board our buses and trains since May 20. We were also one of the first transit agencies in North America to provide disposable masks on board for riders who may not have their own. To date, we have given out more than 600,000 masks. That’s across all channels including on-board dispensers, at the TriMet Ticket Office, handed out by our On-Street Customer Service team and through our partnership with community-based organizations. We continue to receive more shipments. Check out this video from a recent delivery of more than a million disposable face coverings.
With health officials encouraging the use of hand sanitizer for keeping hands clean when hand-washing facilities are unavailable, TriMet has installed hand sanitizer dispensers on our some 700 buses. The push-lever dispensers are found inside the front door and near the rear door. (Our battery-electric buses have dispensers at the front door only due to space availability.) We have installed two hand sanitizer dispensers on our 18 Type 5 light rail vehicles. (These are our newest trains.) We’re going to evaluate them for use an misuse use prior to installing the dispensers on our other MAX and WES trains. All LIFT vehicles in use are also equipped with dispensers.