As directed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, Metro staff are increasing the frequency of cleaning of buses beginning Tuesday evening to limit the spread of novel coronavirus.

Night crews will begin to clean every bus in Metro’s fleet using a bleach solution to wipe down high-touch surfaces such as buttons, handholds, pull cords, rails, and stanchions and disinfect the transit operator’s work area. Maintenance staff are beginning to transition within the next day to a daily procedure that instead will broadly spray a stronger, more comprehensive disinfectant on high-touch locations on buses.

Metro also is moving to develop new kits for transit operators to disinfect their seat, steering wheel, and the rest of their work area. Metro is working to make alcohol-based hand sanitizer available at bus base sign-in windows.

Cleaning the bus is just one part of the solution, and to control the spread of novel coronavirus, Public Health is calling on everyone  to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching their face, and to stay home if they are sick.

The health and safety of our customers is our first priority. Please consult recommendations on Public Health’s website or blog on personal health preparedness.

Cleaning overview

On Tuesday evening, Metro will begin working through the fleet, washing and disinfecting all touch points on every bus by using a solution of ½ cup bleach for every five gallons of water. Superintendents and Chiefs will make sure all team members are wearing their proper personal protective equipment (PPE), that staff have clarity on what they’re being asked to accomplish, and that they have an understanding about why as an agency this is the right thing to do.


Wipe the bleach dampened rag on each surface wiping in one direction, then, flip the rag over and continue wiping in the same direction, so that we are not spreading any gathered germs back onto the surfaces. Wear PPE including gloves and clothing in the normal fashion.

Touch points:

  • All stanchions
  • Driver’s steering wheel, master switch, and buttons
  • Entry-/exit-way grab rails
  • Stanchion stop buttons
  • Top of farebox and connecting stanchions

Personal protective equipment:

  • Wear disposable rubber gloves when preparing disinfectant and cleaning solutions and when performing cleaning tasks.
  • If gloves become damaged or soiled or when cleaning is completed, dispose of them properly. Never wash or reuse gloves.
  • Eye protection, such as a face shield or goggles, is required.
  • Respiratory protection, and N95 dust mask with charcoal, is recommended when working with chemicals such as bleach.

New addition to Q&A with questions from customers, media, and the public

Is King County Metro’s ridership down this week due to coronavirus fears?

Answer: It’s too soon to say how ridership is affected, but we are monitoring. Ridership data takes time as not all of our buses have passenger counters. It’s possible in a few weeks we will have more solid ridership data.


  • Novel coronavirus and COVID-19 updates and additional questions and answers are on the Metro Matters blog under coronavirus.
  • For up-to-date public health information on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, please visit Public Health’s webpage.