With continuing spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to more countries, King County Metro is monitoring updates and public messaging from Public Health – Seattle and King County and the state Department of Health. The public relies on updates on the Public Health website and expertise shared via Public Health’s blogpost updates as officials direct public preparedness and public response to health situations. At this time, Public Health officials have determined the risk to the general public is considered to be low.

We’re sharing answers to some questions posed by riders about coronavirus.

Question: With flu season upon us and concern over Coronavirus, can you share with your riders what your cleaning program is like on your buses?

Answer: We vacuum out each bus daily, clean any identified areas needing attention if unsanitary, and deep clean each bus each month. Resources to keep yourself healthy are at: https://publichealthinsider.com/category/novel-coronavirus/

Question: How often are handrails, stop request cords, seats, sanitized? What are Metro’s general sanitation protocols? And are there any plans to change things in light of the virus?

Answer: Metro removes garbage and sweeps/air blows all buses clean daily, and cleans all interior bus surfaces every 30 days on each coach. Crews clean more frequently in the event of an incident or reports of unsanitary conditions.

In the event of an incident or report that there is an unsanitary condition on a bus from a sickness of any kind, or other causes, Metro staff immediately take the bus out of service and and makes sure it is thoroughly cleaned to eliminate the risk of others becoming ill before returning the bus to service.

The inside of Metro Access paratransit vehicles are cleaned daily. Metro Water Taxi crews clean hand rails, tabletops and seats daily.

We are coordinating closely with Public Health and will respond to direction they give the public regarding reducing risk of exposure to the virus. King County is prepared to shift resources as needed and determined by Public Health and King County Executive Constantine.

Question: What is Metro doing to limit the spread of contagious illnesses among transit users? What does Metro recommend passengers do to prevent getting or spreading illnesses while utilizing public transit?

Answer: We encourage the public to follow the direction of the experts at Public Health – Seattle & King County, which encourages people to

  • cover their sneezes and coughs,
  • avoid touching their eyes/noses/mouths after being in public places during cold and flu season,
  • wash their hands frequently and
  • stay home if they are sick.

Question: Would we be able to get sick masks for sick bus passengers?

Answer: We aren’t in position to supply masks for riders, however we do see some riders choosing to obtain and wear their own. Public Health doesn’t advise a need for it at this time. More resources at: https://publichealthinsider.com/category/novel-coronavirus/