Local News

Metra, Pace focus on cleaning vehicles to slow the spread of COVID-19

Mass transit agencies that serve Homewood and Flossmoor are working to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which was declared to be a pandemic on March 11.

The main response has been increased cleaning efforts on buses and trains and increased efforts to educate customers about effective hygiene.

In a statement this week, Pace bus service officials emphasized the focus on cleanliness.

“As a standard practice, Pace cleans and sanitizes buses nightly. Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve added an extra disinfecting wipe down to our already stringent cleaning regimen,” officials said in a statement.

The company has also posted cards on buses that remind riders about the basic hygiene practices considered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to be key for individuals to protect themselves from the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap is not available).
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with tissue or your upper sleeve.
  • Stay home if you are sick. 

“We want to let riders know specifically what they should do to help make commuting safer during the epidemic,” said Pace spokeswoman Maggie Daly Skogsbakken. 

Currently, no other measures or recommendations are in effect, she said, but the company is monitoring the situation and consulting with government agencies in order to be prepared for any situations that might disrupt service. 

If COVID-19 spread among staff or if the government mandates quarantines, service might be affected, she said.

“We are in regular contact with governmental and public health officials and will follow their lead on any action,” she said. “We have response plans in place if any of these situations occur and frequent, accurate communications with passengers is a big part of those plans. We encourage passengers and stakeholders to sign up for email alerts at PaceBus.com and to follow Pace on social media to stay informed.”

Metra officials also said in addition to routine daily cleanings, the company’s crews are putting extra effort into disinfecting cars, locomotives and stations, with special attention to high-touch area such as handrails, armrests and doors.

“Starting this weekend, we will be bringing on extra crews on weekends to do additional cleaning and disinfecting of our cars and locomotives,” said Jim Derwinski, CEO and executive director. “Metra will remain in touch with federal, state and local health authorities and will make any changes to our procedures as necessary.”

News by email

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Free weekly newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Most read stories this week