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Transportation disinfection: Why it remains critical in a post-pandemic world

Transport plays an essential role in the economy for moving people and goods. Covid caused drastic reductions in economic activity and the use of all types of vehicles for work, public transport, aviation, delivering goods and private vehicles. 

But as economies are moving again and we’ve entered a post-pandemic world, making vehicles and transportation safe remains a major priority to continue to protect staff and passengers from not just Covid but various other infectious diseases that they can catch from surfaces. 

Following the pandemic, individuals have heightened expectations and awareness of hygiene and want reassurance that you’re still protecting them from infectious diseases. They want to feel safe using public transport.

Ensuring the safety of transport hubs and vehicles for drivers, other employees and passengers presents several challenges. Many people work in essential services and businesses and rely on public transport to get to work.

Challenges for businesses

Every kind of business using vehicles will need to reassure staff and passengers that it’s still taking measures to safeguard their health and safety. 

Transport hubs

The large number of people passing through public transport hubs such as metro/underground stations, buses, tram and train stations, ferry terminals and airports channel many people into confined spaces. They also have to pass through “pinch points” where people access different parts of buildings, go through checks or enter or exit vehicles.

Passengers have to stand or sit close together in concourses, pass through stairways, doorways and checkpoints and will touch many surfaces to access the different stages of the transport service, including:

  • ticket machines
  • ticket offices
  • escalators
  • handrails
  • door handles
  • washrooms — handles, taps, toilet seat, soap and tissue dispensers
  • shops and restaurants
  • waiting areas and seating
  • queue barriers
  • waste bins

What types of vehicles should be disinfected?

Every type of vehicle carrying or being used by more than one person or carrying goods should be disinfected to protect staff and passengers and mitigate the spread of germs. These include work vehicles (couriers, trucks and vans etc.), buses and trams, underground and overground trains, aircraft and ferries.

The many surfaces in vehicles that are touched by drivers, passengers, staff and people loading and unloading goods can be contaminated by touch or by air-to-surface transmission of respiratory particles. 

The length of time that particles remain viable on surfaces is enough for other people to be at risk of infection from touching these surfaces, both from travelling in vehicles or from goods transported over relatively short journeys.

There are numerous areas and surfaces where infection can be spread in the different modes of transport.

  • Work vehicles: door handles, steering wheels, dashboard controls, handbrakes, window controls, seats, armrests, flooring
  • Buses and trams: handles, handrails, seats and armrests, windows, tables, luggage racks, waste bins, floor areas, toilets
  • Overground and underground trains: handles, handrails, seats and armrests, windows, tables, luggage racks, waste bins, floor areas, toilets, buffet cars, sleeper cars
  • Aircraft: seats and armrests, window blinds, light switches, air vents, tables, luggage compartments, floor areas, toilets, cabins and crew areas
  • Ferries: handles, handrails, seats and armrests, windows, tables, luggage racks, waste bins, floor areas, toilets, cabins and crew areas, gaming/arcade machines, children’s play areas, restaurants and shopping areas

Disinfection solutions for transport

Disinfection services remain essential in a post-pandemic world where staff and passengers are increasingly aware of their surroundings and measures taken to protect their health. Disinfection services have to be carried out by following carefully assessed safety measures to ensure the safety of staff, the general public and the operators using the disinfection equipment.

Disinfectants used have to comply with local regulations and be approved for antiviral use. Specially trained technicians systematically clean all the key touchpoints and surfaces using specialist equipment.

For disinfecting large areas quickly and for rapid turnaround of vehicles, a fogging machine can be used to apply a mist of disinfectant. The minute droplets quickly settle under, on top of and on the sides of objects and inaccessible areas that may be difficult or not possible to reach using conventional cleaning methods.

Fogging also disinfects textiles on seating, which are more difficult to treat using manual methods. A battery-powered fogger enables vehicles such as a bus to be treated in around five minutes, which allows many vehicles to be treated at night, ready for service the following day.

Transport hubs can implement an integrated hygiene programme to target three key areas for preventing transmission of germs.

  1. Surface hygiene: disinfecting common touchpoints using a suitable disinfectant and cleaning solution. Larger areas can be disinfected by fogging to treat hard-to-reach surfaces quickly and effectively.
  2. Hand hygiene solutions: provide antibacterial soap dispensers, hand-drying solutions and sanitiser dispensers for added protection in the washroom. Hand sanitiser dispensers can also be placed at strategic locations for staff or the public to use.
  3. Air hygiene: air purification devices placed in strategic locations to filter respiratory droplets carrying harmful bacteria and viruses as well as mould spores, allergens and VOCs.

Benefits of transportation disinfection

Cleaning and disinfection are essential measures for decontaminating facilities and vehicles effectively. Professional disinfection services have the techniques, tools and most appropriate products to disinfect large facilities and vehicles for public transport to make them safe and return them to use as quickly as possible.

When completed, you can be sure that cleaning and disinfection have been carried out using approved safety procedures, tools and products that are compliant with safety regulations.

On completion, a report is provided that will help you reassure your staff, customers and visitors that your facilities and vehicles remain safe. Ongoing cleaning and disinfecting regimes will provide further reassurance that facilities managers are maintaining high standards of hygiene on their premises to help protect staff and passengers from infectious diseases they can catch from surfaces. 

Specialist disinfection services

Expert sanitisation and disinfection services targeting harmful pathogens for cleaner, safer commercial spaces

  • Rapid response, highly trained and qualified local specialist disinfection team to tackle your problems fast
  • Targeted disinfection solutions including UKV fogging and touchpoint cleaning
  • Tailored services delivered in a safe, discreet and legally-compliant manner
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