The capital’s bus and Tube network are now being cleaned with hospital-grade anti-viral fluids in a bid to reassure Londoners and visitors to the capital that public transport is safe to use despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Public Health England has previously said there are no specific concerns about using public transport but both Transport for London and City Hall today sought to reassure the public that all steps necessary were being taken to keep the network clean and safe.
A new “enhanced anti-viral fluid” which can “kill viruses and bacteria on contact” is now being used to clean Tube trains and stations while key interchanges will be cleaned more often, including during the day.
The enhanced disinfectant is also being used in depots and drivers’ cabs while buses will have regularly touched areas, such as poles and doors, “carefully wiped down with a strong disinfectant every day.”
New cleaning methods will also be rolled out across the rest of the TfL network and the agency says it’s in the “final testing stages” of a new, longer lasting cleaning agent that would provide anti-viral protection for up to 30 days and which it hopes to deploy within “the next couple of weeks.”
It’s also finalising plans to use back-pack equipment to spray the new disinfectant across the network safely and quickly.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m doing all I can to work with Public Health England and other experts to keep Londoners safe so I’m pleased that TfL is stepping up enhanced cleaning across the transport network.
“Along with trialling new longer lasting cleaning fluid, this will help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.
“I want to reassure Londoners and visitors that the advice from experts is to continue with our daily lives as normal, including using public transport.”
Lilli Matson, Director of Health, Safety and the Environment at TfL, added: “London’s public transport system is one of the cleanest in the world.
“Public Health England has made it clear that people should go about their daily lives as normal but should wash their hands more regularly and thoroughly, which particularly includes when they arrive at work or home and before eating.
“If people are unwell, they are advised not to travel so as not to pass on illness to others.
“We want to give Londoners and our staff peace of mind that their safety is our priority, which is why we have enhanced our already rigorous cleaning regime.
“A lot of our cleaning goes on when stations are closed or trains are out of service, so to provide additional reassurance teams will be cleaning areas that are frequently touched throughout the day, in addition to the enhanced cleaning regime that all bus garages will be carrying out.”