Overview of SEPTA’s Service Adjustments and Enhanced Cleaning Efforts for COVID-19

Overview of SEPTA’s Service Adjustments and Enhanced Cleaning Efforts for COVID-19

Service Changes

SEPTA implemented a series of service changes before and during the COVID-19 crisis designed to maximize the health and safety of employees.

This started with enhanced cleanings of stations and vehicles in early March, well before the shutdowns of businesses, schools and other non-essential services.

As the crisis worsened, SEPTA reduced service schedules to a Saturday level, a major component of which has been to create the safest environment possible for employees:

  • Only buses in service with shields for operators
  • Only buses in service with plastic seats – best for maintaining clean surfaces
  • Working with the union to reassign some bus operators to clean vehicles
  • We are expediting the installation of protective shields for trolleyses
  • Rear-door boarding on buses and trolleys, which suspends on-board fare payment. This means customers will no longer have to stop at the front of the bus near operators to pay or validate fares
  • Actively pursuing a purchase of at least 10,000 masks to be distributed to frontline employees

A System for Only Essential Services

  • We have been proactive in announcing that the system should now only be used for essential services.
  • We announced that with the first schedule change, and it has been part of what we have communicated to the public throughout the crisis

Social Distancing

  • We have stressed the need for this throughout the crisis.
  • We have now gone as far as to limit the number of passengers per bus to 20 and per trolley to 25ces.

Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitizing Efforts:


Every vehicle is sanitized at least twice a day. Approximately2,400 vehicles get deep cleanings every 14days; approximately 175 vehicles every night. Sub/El cleaners and Vehicle Engineering Maintenance cleaners also clean employee facilities. Building & Bridges cleans bus loops and the restrooms.

  • 182 maintenance custodians working 24 hours cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing and overnight power washing 61 Subway/Elevated and Trolley stations
  • Implemented daily overnight cleaning with special crews assigned to each line to ensure all stations were sanitized
  • Purchased new Ryobi backpack sprayer which allowed more high touched surface areas to be sanitized
  • Increased the amount of time spent disinfecting high touched areas during the AM and pm. Shifts including:
    • Rotogates
    • Benches
    • Farebox
    • Turnstile
    • Cashier window and slot
    • Hand rails
    • Door handles
    • Fare vending machines
  • Added bleach to high pressure units to sanitize stairways and entrances to subway stations
  • Increased frequency of sanitizing employee restrooms and lounges as well as public restrooms
  • Added restroom monitor to ensure clean conditions at 69th Street Terminal
  • With the union’s cooperation created sanitizing runs utilizing operators trained properly to sanitize high touched surfaces on trains, buses and trolleys at the end of the lines and specified bus locations including:
    • Stanchions
    • Handles
    • Train/Trolley Operator cab areas
    • Bus operator compartments
    • Control panels
    • Steering wheels
    • Farebox
  • Installed hand sanitizer in all cashier booths and train operator rooms
  • Distributed hand sanitizer wipes, bottles of sanitizer and gloves to all front-line employees

Surface Efforts

  • Operators are strategically placed at loops and transit centers for vehicle cleaning runs.
    • These operators are responsible to wipe down stanchion bars and the operators cab area, including the steering and instrument panels.
    • 53 operators and 47 operator-students are being utilized for these efforts

Vehicle Maintenance Efforts

Regional Rail

  • Shifts/rest days/locations being adjusted to ensure 100% coverage and zero overtime
  • All vehicles in service are being cleaned and disinfected every day.
  • Vehicles coming into or leaving the shop are being disinfected prior to working them and again before releasing them.
  • All work areas are being disinfected at least once daily.
  • All common areas are being disinfected in the mornings and between shift changes.
  • We have cleaners positioned at Suburban Station cleaning the Engineer cabs during Crew changes.
  • We are increasing the amount of Vehicle Interior Cleans (House Cleans) that are performed daily.
  • Contractor forces on Regional Rail Division to clean all Regional Rail Division stations and employee facilities. (3 shifts)


  • Bus Maintenance is disinfecting buses after morning and evening runs.
    • Extra cleaners are being used to enhance our normal cleaning efforts.
  • Employees are staggered for shift start times and breaks
  • Separated VMIS terminals

69th Street/ FTC

  • Disinfecting trains on the line at 69th St. and Bridge St.
  • Disinfecting trains when they are in the yard for the night

Fern Rock

  • Cab/handrail disinfecting w/ bleach solution (Carhouse and Platforms)
  • Sweep and mops of consist w/bleach solution
  • Extra house cleans


  • Disinfect trains on the line at 69th St. platform
  • Disinfect trains when they are in the yard for the night


  • Disinfect trains when they are in the yard for the night

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