Adding copper to high-touch surfaces in buses and SkyTrain cars has proven so effective TransLink plans to add the bacteria-killing metal to more of its fleet.
The transit authority’s five-week pilot program launched this November – as COVID-19 fears were heightened and ridership was down – using two buses and two SkyTrain cars on busy routes.
Surfaces including poles frequently touched by rider’s hands were coated in copper, known to be durable and kill bacteria, according to Vancouver medical microbiologist Dr. Marthe Charles.
Swab samples were collected twice a week and examined by teams at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia. In the first phase, more than 1,140 samples were analyzed.
Results showed, “select copper products on transit are durable and kill up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria within one hour of a bacteria’s contact with the surface,” stated TransLink in a news release Thursday (March 4). This includes COVID-19 germs.
Products that performed best on transit were copper decals and copper-nickel plasma sprays, of several other substances tested during the pilot project.
“Self-disinfecting surfaces containing copper would become a valuable addition to cleaning hands and cleaning surfaces,” Charles attested.
The $90,000 trial was paid for by Teck Resources Limited. The next phase gets underway in the coming months and the company plans to continue providing financial support.
In the second phase, TransLink plans to test the material on more SkyTrain cars and buses over a longer amount of time to examine varied conditions.
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