School bus drivers in Akron rolled out this week with automated sanitation assistance instead of the usual spray bottle.
All 100 buses in the Akron Public Schools district got upgraded with misting sanitizer equipment that disperses disinfectant from nozzles above the seats while the vehicles are empty.
“All the school districts since the pandemic are really bumping up cleaning and disinfecting inside classrooms,” said William Andexler, coordinator of transportation services for Akron schools. His is the first Ohio district to incorporate the sanitizing misters. “We needed to bring it out of our classrooms and onto the buses.”
The district spent $200,000 in federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funding on equipment and installation of the new systems by Michigan-based Transit Safety Solutions Plus. Without the pandemic funds, Andexler said, the district might still have proceeded with the upgrade, but on a significantly smaller scale.
“This particular disinfectant gets rid of mold, mildew, and viruses, and helps ease everyone’s minds,” Andexler said. “I want to make sure we can cut down on the flu or whatever kids catch. If we can keep kids in school, it’s better for everybody.”
Previously, drivers had to mask up and use bottles of alcohol-based disinfectant to clean buses between routes. Now, the driver turns a key, triggers the system, steps off, and waits about 15 minutes for the water-based mixture to disperse and dry in the unoccupied bus.
The installation crew averaged about eight Thomas Built and Blue Bird buses per day, but the district faced some challenges due to being down three mechanics, Andexler said. So, Akron Public Schools hired an outside firm to help with the project.
Previously, drivers had to mask up and use bottles of alcohol-based disinfectant to clean buses between routes. Now, the driver turns a key, triggers the system, steps off, and waits about 15 minutes for the water-based Goldshield mixture to disperse and dry in the unoccupied bus.
Bill Hadden, chief executive officer of Transit Safety Solutions Plus, said about 10,000 installations of the Trans Mist system are currently deployed or budgeted throughout the country, including these 11 states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Because the system is fully installed, Hadden said, “it does not require anyone to transport it around to do cleaning and then have to store it. This saves time, physical labor, labor cost, and storage space.”