Port Authority installing air purification devices in buses and trams | News | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Riders standing on a Port Authority bus

Concerns about the use of public transport have increased during the pandemic, fears that public transport vehicles are vectors for the spread of COVID-19. However, studies have shown that buses and trains do not pose additional risks for transmissions.. Experts hope this data will reassure those still hesitant to take public transit as COVID cases rise, but it’s clear that public transit ridership has yet to fully recover.

To further allay those fears and help stop any possible spread, the Port Authority of Allegheny County is installing air and surface purification devices in its fleet of 700 buses and 80 streetcars. Currently, more than half of Port Authority buses are fitted with proactive air and surface purification units from NFI Parts. Installation inside the light rail cars will begin in early 2022.

“The safety of our passengers and employees has always been our top priority, and we remain committed to following all precautions to ensure the safety of our vehicles,” Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman said in a statement. communicated. “In addition to installing plexiglass barriers for our drivers and manually disinfecting our vehicles, the installation of these devices is another step to complete our safety strategy.”

According to a press release, the air purification units sanitize both the air and surfaces inside transit vehicles. PASP units are mounted directly inside vehicle cabins and they help “eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19 as well as other germs, germs, viruses, bacteria and volatile organic compounds in the air and on surfaces”, depending on the version.

The Port Authority will also install high-efficiency HVAC filters in buses to further filter cabin air. The air purification effort will cost $2.9 million and is funded by local, state and federal dollars.

The effort follows some signs that traffic is rebounding for the Port Authority. Between August and September, the authority experienced its largest increase in traffic since the start of the pandemic with a jump of 23%. Train and bus ridership increased during this period, with bus ridership outpacing the increase in train ridership.

Jose P. Rogers