The Edmonton Transit Service recently wrapped up the installation of new germ-killing seats in 57 out of the city’s 94 train cars.
“They’ve embedded this anti-microbial additive into the plastic itself. It kills 99.9 per cent of pathogens within two hours,” City of Edmonton director of LRT operations and maintenance Craig McKeown said.
ETS began installing the seats, which came from U.S. manufacturer Uniform Color Company, in its newer trains in February and recently completed the process.
“This is one of 30 different health and safety measures that transit has taken to protect our riders and our staff,” McKeown said.
McKeown said the seats have not been specifically tested against COVID-19 but the additive used is effective against bacteria, fungus and viruses.
In addition to the seats, ETS launched a pilot project in January to install germ-killing push plates made of compressed salt. The plates were made by Edmonton-based biotechnology company Outbreaker Solutions and were installed on several doors at selected transit centres and LRT stations.
Epidemiologist Cynthia Carr said while it may be difficult to see the immediate results, added public health and prevention measures stemming from the pandemic are positive.
“Innovative solutions such as this that add to the layers of protection can be good things, as long as it doesn’t give a false sense of security,” said Carr, who is the founder of EPI Research.
Carr said even with these layers of protection, people still need to be vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves against COVID-19.
In addition to these new technologies, McKeown said various other protection measures have been in place.
“Other measures include the shields on the buses. We handed out a million masks for free to our public. We sanitize and electrostatically spray all of our trains at all of our stations,” McKeown said.
ETS is looking at the prospect of installing more of these seats across its transit fleet where applicable.
McKeown said the cost of the new seats was more than $2 million and came from public transportation infrastructure funding.