MATA responds to coronavirus outbreak with extra cleanings

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In light of the coronavirus outbreak, Memphis Area Transit Authority says it’s taking extra steps to make the rides safer for everyone.

Up to 25,000 people use buses and trolleys every day in Memphis. MATA is getting a jump start on its spring cleaning, power washing shelters with water and bleach as often as they can, and deep-cleaning buses and buildings.

MATA will be monitoring the community spread of coronavirus and making adjustments. Its biggest concern is getting more commercial cleaning products that are suddenly in short supply.

“Buses are always cleaned nightly,” said Gary Rosenfield, CEO of MATA. “Every bus that goes out during the day is cleaned nightly. As we progress through this process, we will be adding an extra layer of disinfectant, if you will, to the buses.”

Some drivers are choosing to wear gloves, and riders are boarding with masks on.

Elbert Tucker is concerned about the coronavirus, but says this is his only mode of transportation, and he’s doing the best he can to protect himself.

“But you’re on a bus, so you’re surrounded by people. Ain’t nothing you can do about it,” Tucker said.

Joanne Grant rides the bus with her children, and is trying to teach them not to touch anything.

“Just keeping our hands washed,” Grant said.

More people are also jumping on scooters and bikes to get around. At least one company says it’s increasing the frequency of cleaning it scooters. But since those scooters are shared, the company is reminding riders to disinfect all surfaces.

A representative with Bird said the company will increase the daily frequency of cleaning its vehicles and sterilizing its helmets, as well as the deep-clean “Bird Baths” that take place in its local service centers.

Bird also said it will be providing extra gloves for its field service staff members as well as hand sanitizer for all Bird staff.

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