We've got a new disinfectant and new methods to better sanitize buses
In March of this year, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 at Cherriots. While scary, this prompted the Executive Leadership Team at Cherriots to shut down the service for a week for the first time in Cherriots history. This allowed the leadership team the time to plan and create the safest environment possible for our employees and riders. Though there was still much confusion about how the virus spread, Cherriots followed the guidance of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and the Oregon governor, and continues to do so today.
As both local and national scientists learned more about the virus, the guidance by the CDC, OHA, and Governor Brown has changed to reflect their newfound knowledge. Throughout this pandemic, Cherriots is proud to have continually met or exceeded the guidelines established.
Bus service was at approximately 25 percent of the pre-pandemic service level when we returned from that week of planning in the beginning of April. This freed up a large number of drivers to help with the sanitization of buses while at the transit centers between trips. As service levels have continued to increase, and are today at over 95 percent of the pre-pandemic level, Cherriots has had to find new ways to continue the same level of bus sanitization.
To meet the demand for more bus sanitizers, our facilities maintenance supervisor has hired five new limited duration facilities maintenance workers, lifting the burden of sanitizing the buses from the drivers and allowing Cherriots to be at the level of service we are at today.
We sanitize every bus at least once every four hours, exceeding the orders of Governor Brown. A high-efficiency disinfectant is sprayed on the seats and touchpoints of the buses.
The disinfectant kills 99.9 percent of germs after sitting on a surface for one minute, and fully dries in three minutes. This practice of letting the spray settle, rather than wiping it down, ensures the greatest level of safety that Cherriots can provide for our riders, in conjunction with other safety measures including mandatory face covers, physical distancing, and limited capacity on all buses.
When the facilities maintenance workers are not sanitizing buses, they are inside the Cherriots facilities cleaning and disinfecting the common and work areas to maintain the safety of Cherriots employees as well.
Cherriots is committed to the health and safety of both our riders and employees. We will continue to adjust our safety protocols as the pandemic continues to change and more is known about how to best protect everyone.