VIDEO: TransLink to test antimicrobial coating on buses, SkyTrain to prevent COVID spread

Copper and an organosilane coating will be installed on high-touch areas on two trolley buses and two SkyTrain cars starting Nov. 15, 2020. (TransLink)Copper and an organosilane coating will be installed on high-touch areas on two trolley buses and two SkyTrain cars starting Nov. 15, 2020. (TransLink)
Copper and an organosilane coating will be installed on high-touch areas on two trolley buses and two SkyTrain cars starting Nov. 15, 2020. (TransLink)Copper and an organosilane coating will be installed on high-touch areas on two trolley buses and two SkyTrain cars starting Nov. 15, 2020. (TransLink)
Copper and an organosilane coating will be installed on high-touch areas on two trolley buses and two SkyTrain cars starting Nov. 15, 2020. (TransLink)Copper and an organosilane coating will be installed on high-touch areas on two trolley buses and two SkyTrain cars starting Nov. 15, 2020. (TransLink)

With ridership still down from pre-pandemic levels, TransLink is partnering with a B.C. natural resource company to test an antimicrobial coating on high-touch areas.

At a Tuesday (Nov. 10) press conference, CEO Kevin Desmond said this would be the first time a North America transit agency would use copper-based products and a protective coating called organosilane to keep the system germ free.

“We’re doing this because research has shown that organosilane coating provides long-lasting protection against bacteria and because copper has self-sanitizing properties that can kill up to 99.9 per cent of all viruses and bacteria on its surface,” Desmond said. “And yes, we believe this can include COVID-19.”

TransLink will test the copper products and organosilane coating on two trolley buses on high-ridership routes and two SkyTrain cars on the Expo and Millennium Lines. The transit agency said the surfaces will be swabbed twice per week to determine antimicrobial effectiveness and assessed for durability at the end of the first month. The four-week pilot project is scheduled to roll out on Nov. 15. The effects will also be studied in a partnership that includes Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, the Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction (CHAIR) Canada and the University of British Columbia.

“We understand the public’s concern over being in shared public spaces,” Desmond said, but not that “internationally, there’s no evidence of COVID-19 spread linked to transit.”

The $90,000 pilot project will be paid for by Teck Resources Limited, CEO Don Lindsay said.

Copper’s antimicrobial properties are well known and researched, VCH medical microbiologist Dr. Marthe Charles noted.

“We want to see if these products are durable and if they will retain their ability to kill germs over time while on public transportation,” Charles said. “If this study was to be successful, self-disinfecting surfaces containing copper would become a valuable addition to cleaning hands and cleaning surfaces.”

Desmond said that TransLink didn’t necessarily expect ridership to increase dramatically as a result of this pilot. Ridership has been down significantly, at about 43 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in mid-September. As to whether or not the antimicrobial project could lead to a fare increase, Desmond said it’s “way too early to even be thinking of something like this.”

READ MORE: TransLink launches limited edition Dr. Bonnie Henry Compass cards for fall

READ MORE: Masks now mandatory on public transit, ferries in B.C.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusTransitTransLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jack Emberly is the host of a podcast on CEED Pod. (The News files)
CEED Centre in Maple Ridge launches new podcast

Available on CEED Centre website

The Ridge Meadows Flames are hosting an under-15 development skate this summer. (Facebook)
Ridge Meadows Flames announce under-15 development camp

Junior B club to host eight skates in July

BC Hydro is allowing the water levels on the South Alouette River to be higher this spring, to allow a study of sockeye smolt out-migration. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge river higher for sockeye smolt study

Sockeye salmon smolt migration in South Alouette studied

Last year T’s, with the help of UPlan, the Youth Planning Table subcommittee, made up of about 20 students from the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district, decorated their front window with the names of all the graduates. (The News files)
Parent doesn’t want 2021 grads to be forgotten

Letter from superintendent of Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District explains grad guidelines

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read