While public transit passenger volumes plummeted during the early weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have rebounded significantly by this point, one year on.
Now, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) has partnered with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) to provide transit service providers with cleaning and disinfecting best practices.
UITP members will also be offered discounted rates to achieve GBAC STAR accreditation, the cleaning industry’s standard for prepared facilities and the only outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation for facilities.
In the United States, only two transit agencies, the Central Ohio Transit Authority and Anaheim Transportation Network, have so far earned accreditation.
UITP and GBAC conducted a survey of UITP members to identify “dos and don’ts” for cleaning and disinfection in a transit environment and the survey results will be put into a report, which is expected to be released in April.
UITP says the collaboration will “continue to strengthen our responses to the ongoing international situation.”
While public transport providers have enhanced their cleaning practices from the initial spread of the pandemic, costs associated with these procedures have had an impact on service providers globally. UITP says it will be important for the transit sector to review and adapt current practices, maximize the safety of public transport networks, and keep costs under control.
“Public transportation is a vital service in society that people must rely on as they return to their routines after COVID-19 lockdowns. It is our duty to help passengers and employees develop assurance in their safety as ridership levels increase. Part of that confidence-building comes from validating your protocols and communicating the many steps you are taking to protect people…now is a time when multiple disciplines must work together to protect public health and help local economies recover, making your infection prevention programs vital to a faster, safer recovery,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger.
“Working with our international membership on how best to react to the ongoing global pandemic continues to be a top priority for UITP. By collaborating with leading voices, such as the expertise at ISSA, we can expand our knowledge and output even further. Sharing research and insight allows us to take a closer look at how to best adapt cleaning and disinfection to ensure the highest level of safety for public transport employees and passengers and strengthen the response of the sector to the coronavirus pandemic,” said UITP Deputy Director of Knowledge and Innovation Karine Sbirrazzuoli.
The GBAC STAR accreditation was developed to work with the framework of local or national jurisdictions and includes 20 key elements every plan should have, such as worker safety programs, cleaning and disinfecting, personal protective equipment, infection prevention strategies, and more.