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NJ TRANSIT looking into use of ultraviolet light to disinfect buses from COVID-19

A study by Rutgers University on the use of UVC light has been commissioned

Ultraviolet lights. by Shutterstock.

As New Jersey continues Phase 2 of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers continue to investigate ways to combat the virus.

NJ TRANSIT has commissioned a study by Rutgers University’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation on the use of ultraviolet-c (UVC) wavelength for disinfecting the agency’s bus fleet from viruses such as COVID-19.

This is part of NJ TRANSIT’s continuing effort to investigate and deploy the latest technology and best practices to provide a safe environment.

“NJ TRANSIT is always looking to be on the cutting edge of technology,” said NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett.  “As we prepare for our customers’ return to the system, it is incumbent upon us to explore every cleaning and disinfecting option available.”

The study, to be conducted over the next few months, will include examining the effectiveness of the UVC wavelength in killing viruses. The study will electronically map the interior of various bus models to determine the best placement for the UVC source.

The findings will be used to determine the best way to scale and implement the technology on the bus fleet, according to NJ TRANSIT.

Ultraviolet light (UVC) in the germicidal range, from 200 to 280 nanometers of light, has proven to be effective in disinfecting water and surfaces. As a result, it is theorized that UVC may help reduce the risk of infection due to COVID-19 virus.

UVC light energy is not the same as the UVA and UVB light wavelengths found in exposure to sunlight. NJ TRANSIT said that UVC disinfection would not be used when customers are on board.

COVID-19 cleaning efforts

NJ TRANSIT continues enhanced cleaning that includes disinfecting vehicles every 24 hours. Hard surface cleaning and disinfecting includes handholds, arm rests, seating areas, and restrooms.

According to NJ TRANSIT, the enhanced cleaning regimen in stations includes additional disinfecting of frequent customer touch points such as ticket vending machines, handrails, and door handles. In major stations and terminals, this is set to take place once every shift.

The cleaning agents are deemed effective for these purposes and contain anti-viral components such as bleach/water mixes and other disinfectant sprays, NJ TRANIT said.

Areas regularly cleaned include doors, door knobs, windows, benches, partitions, trashcans, elevators, escalators, handrails, ledges, and all restrooms and floor surfaces.

NJ TRANSIT has a web page, njtransit.com/recovery, that lists initiatives the agency has undertaken to protect customers and employees against COVID-19 as the reopening of New Jersey and the region continues.

NJ TRANSIT said it is engaged with the New Jersey Department of Health and other state and federal resources to monitor and respond to emerging health concerns.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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