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LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Metropolitan Transit System Introduces Chemical Fogs To Fight COVID-19

An MTS trolley approaching the Grantville station is seen above a vacant lot,...

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: An MTS trolley approaching the Grantville station is seen above a vacant lot, which the transit agency has approved for housing development, June 19, 2019.

The Metropolitan Transit System announced the addition of a new tool in the fight against coronavirus Friday — disinfecting fog.

Additionally, the agency is now requiring daily temperature checks for hundreds of bus and trolley operators, and is now offering one-way fares on its mobile ticketing app, Compass Cloud.

"We will continue adopting measures to improve protections for our employees, essential workers and riders taking essential trips," said Paul Jablonski, MTS chief executive officer. "Strict sanitizing protocols and early detection for this virus are key to slowing the spread. We will keep improving on both these fronts."

In addition to daily cleaning with disinfectants, buses will be fogged with a CDC-approved substance that kills COVID-19 (and other viruses) on contact. The small devices evenly spray a fine mist of chloride dioxide solution throughout each bus's interior. The fog can decontaminate hard-to- reach locations and fabric seats, leaving more time for professional cleaners to sanitize areas more frequently touched by passengers, a MTS statement said.

The substance also decontaminates air-conditioning filters. The fogging process takes just minutes. All buses will be fogged every other day and more often if necessary after more materials become available. Many buses are cleaned mid-day before returning to service for the evening commute, as well as the regular daily cleanings.

On Wednesday, MTS began checking bus and trolley operator temperatures prior to starting a shift. Fevers are one of the primary symptoms of coronavirus.

MTS is conducting temperature checks on approximately 500 bus and trolley operators daily, as well as administrative employees. Temperature stations have been set up at bus divisions on Imperial Avenue, Kearny Mesa and the Mills Building, in East Village. Employees with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher will be required to go home.

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