Amid concerns of coronavirus, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is stepping up cleaning and disinfecting procedures at stations, as well as on subways, trains and buses.
Joining Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker at a news conference Wednesday, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said officials had been planning for the upgraded cleaning since the outbreak of coronavirus.
Guard rails, handrails and fare equipment will be cleaned every four hours, and hand sanitizing stations will be installed at subway stations and other transit facilities, he said.
"We certainly have a rigorous protocol for cleaning. I think we're stepping up the level of disinfection," Poftak said.
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The plan is to begin the major sanitizing effort by the end of the week.
"At this point in time I think there are some supply chain issues," Poftak said. "We expect to be able to overcome — specifically around the area of disinfectants — we expect to be able to overcome that shortly. So, again, I can't give you concrete it's gonna happen tomorrow but we do expect by the end of this week we will have addressed the issue of the disinfectants."
Some commuters on the MBTA said although they are concerned about the virus, they think the ramped up cleaning effort is a good thing.
"I'm concerned about it. I think it's, for me, it's just important to take general precautions. I think it's important not to panic," commuter Gabe Cohen said.
Other riders said due to fears of the virus, they've already had to change their daily routines.
"I don't have my sanitizer on me now but I usually, yes, stay at home more," one commuter named Kristin said. "I'm not out as much in the population and I just try to go to and from where I have to go."
Baker said Wednesday that more than 250 people remain quarantined and that anyone returning from China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea will now be required to self-quarantine.
Officials stressed the stepped-up measures are precautionary and that the risk of contracting the virus in Massachusetts remains low. The state has one confirmed case and one presumptive positive case of the virus.