May 11, 2009

Campus bus response to swine flu threat

About three of five bus operators are taking special precautions against the spread of the swine flu virus, according to a random survey of 26 university shuttle bus operators and transit agencies.

The survey found that 16 of  26 respondents (62 percent) had initiated special procedures to reduce the possibility of the spread of the H1N1 virus. These precautions ranged from providing bus operators with personal hygiene information (e.g., frequent hand washing) to nightly cleaning of bus interiors with disinfectant solutions.

The most common precaution was the distribution of hand sanitizers to bus operators. Some systems went a step further and also issued disposable masks and latex gloves to operators. Some took a slightly different tack.

“We have distributed spray bottles of a strong disinfectant and disposable plastic gloves to all 27 buses and have asked drivers to periodically spray and disinfect common areas that are frequently touched, like handrails,” said Kent McDaniel, executive director of the Campus Bus Service at Indiana University.

McDaniel also is ensuring that buses receive a nightly cleaning and recommends to bus operators that they keep windows open to maximize air flow.

Tony Mazza, director of transportation services at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, is also having buses disinfected daily. In addition, he’s providing passengers with antibacterial wipes. Mazza said no confirmed cases of the swine flu have been reported on campus.

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