An enhanced cleaning regime has been unveiled by Transport for London (TfL) to improve hygiene levels on the capital's public transport network.
Cleaning across the Tube and bus network now includes additional substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact, in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.
Public Health England has stated that there are currently no specific concerns about using public transport. However, TfL has chosen to make a number of improvements to its well-established cleaning programme, which already sees its trains, stations and buses professionally cleaned daily.
TfL began rolling out enhanced anti-viral fluid, which is used in hospitals, at Tube trains and stations on Friday last week to provide added protection. Key interchanges will be cleaned more regularly than usual, including during the day.
TfL is also using the enhanced disinfectant in depots and drivers' cabs, which previously were regularly cleaned with traditional disinfectant.
All buses will now also have regularly touched areas, such as poles and doors, carefully wiped down with a strong disinfectant every day. Boosts to the rigorous cleaning regime will be rolled out across the rest of the TfL network.
TfL is at the final testing stages of a new, longer lasting cleaning agent that would provide anti-viral protection for up to 30 days and hopes to begin using it across the network in the next couple of weeks. TfL is finalising plans to use specialist hygiene back-pack equipment, which will be deployed to spray the new disinfectant across the network safely and quickly.
London’s taxi drivers have also been popular with safety conscious travellers taking growing precautionary measures.
Each taxi is purpose built and designed to be easily cleaned using hygienic materials on grab rails, seats and flooring. All of London’s taxis have a driver partition separating the cabbie from passengers and all offer card payment options.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), claimed: “Drivers are reporting an increase in customers switching from private hire vehicles.”
McNamara added: “Passengers are telling drivers they value the protection and like the segregation provided by the cab’s glass partition screen.”
In the meantime, Public Health England continues to urge everyone to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, before eating and when arriving at work or home. It is believed that the virus can be passed on through contaminated surfaces, which is why washing hands is so important.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "I'm doing all I can to work with Public Health England and other experts to keep Londoners safe so I'm pleased that TfL is stepping up enhanced cleaning across the transport network. Along with trialling new longer lasting cleaning fluid, this will help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. I want to reassure Londoners and visitors that the advice from experts is to continue with our daily lives as normal, including using public transport."