Starting Thursday morning, all passengers and operators will board fully disinfected buses across King County Metro’s system, representing our commitment to stopping the spread of novel coronavirus. Metro crews are now cleaning every bus every night using 21 newly acquired backpack sprayers distributed evenly across its seven bases. Metro will utilize its current staff of 200 equipment and utility service workers. This practice will continue for the foreseeable future as part of Metro’s ongoing efforts to support the health and safety of passengers, employees, and community members.

Larry Bowles, Equipment service worker for King County Metro sprays the interior of a Metro bus with Virex II 286 disinfectant with a wand and backpack sprayer.
Larry Bowles, Equipment Service Worker for King County Metro, sprays the interior of a Metro bus with Virex II 286 disinfectant with a wand and backpack sprayer to kill viruses and help limit the spread of novel coronavirus.

In just the few days since the emergence of novel coronavirus in the region, Metro has dramatically upgraded cleaning protocols and frequency. Previously, the agency cleaned and vacuumed each bus daily, and conducted four-hour deep cleans every 30 days. On Tuesday night, Metro crews worked 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 the transit operator’s work areas.

Metro bought battery-powered backpack sprayers on Wednesday that allow for the ongoing daily disinfecting of all buses with Virex II 256. Instead of wiping the interior of the bus with a bleach solution, crews are now using the backpack sprayers to disinfect all areas of the bus including the transit operator’s work area and all high-touch surfaces throughout the bus. Metro Water Taxi crews are continuing to conduct twice-daily deep-cleans and sanitizations of all bulkheads, handholds, and hard surfaces.

Amid a quickly-evolving situation, Metro’s fast response to novel coronavirus has been at the direction of King County Executive Dow Constantine and in close coordination with Public Health – Seattle & King County. On Wednesday, Public Health announced new recommendations to reduce risk of spread of COVID-19. While all residents can take steps now, people with underlying health conditions are urged to follow recommendations to avoid large gatherings of people.