As COVID-19 cases across the state soar, Metrolink – Southern California’s regional passenger train service – is again stepping up efforts to keep safe and healthy its riders and employees, the essential workers keeping our communities functioning. Today, Metrolink announced the addition of new, state-of-the-art antimicrobial air filters on all its train cars to ensure the air passengers breathe throughout their journey is safe and clean.
In March, Metrolink began implementing a new multi-faceted health and safety program to keep riders and Metrolink employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts include a face-mask requirement at station platforms and aboard trains, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing measures, and partnerships with leading health and safety institutions for guidance on health matters.
“With every passing day, we learn more about ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and take necessary steps to keep our riders and employees safe aboard our trains,” said Metrolink Board Chair Brian Humphrey. “Understanding the airborne nature of COVID-19, we installed new state-of-the-art air filters that improve the air flow aboard our trains and destroy 99.9% of impurities. Together with enhanced cleaning, physical distancing and our face mask requirement, this new step reduces the exposure risk of infection.”
Built by Purafil, the new PuraShield air filters do more than capture airborne microbials. They destroy them on contact. The filters screen out 99.99% of the staphylococcus bacteria, 99.91% of the H1N1 virus, 99.96% of E. Coli bacteria and 99.58% of the SARS virus.
They do this through a high-efficiency fiber treated with a proprietary antimicrobial technology. That technology involves copper and silver ions jointly attacking the viral and bacterial cells, weakening the cell walls, then sterilizing, suffocating and starving the pathogens.
The new filters work with Metrolink’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, which is itself another protective layer. Intake vents draw in outside air, send it through the HVAC system, then distribute the filtered and cleaned air into the cars. Through this process, the filters screen out and kill not only viral and bacterial particles, but biological and atmosphere odors, providing a more pleasant experience for riders.
“Our focus since the beginning of this crisis has been on ensuring health and safety,” said Metrolink Chief of Safety and Security Don Filippi. “We significantly enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, which include a daily deep cleaning of the trains. We expanded our Clean Care Crew that wipes and disinfects trains throughout the day and uses an electrostatic sprayer to mist hospital-grade disinfectant on all train cars – including hard-to-reach places.”
Passenger feedback led to Metrolink doubling its hand-sanitizing stations and keeping a ready, fresh supply of masks available for riders arriving without them. Face masks are required on Metrolink platforms and trains, and riders can be assured there’s plenty of space for physical distancing by using the online tool How Full is My Train?.
In September, Metrolink joined the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) national Health and Safety Commitments (HSC) Program and pledged to take the necessary steps to keep riders and employees safe from the spread of COVID-19. Metrolink trains display APTA’s Seal of Commitment reflecting the pledge to institute policies and practices to protect the health and safety of its passengers. The HSC also helps transit agencies nationwide share information and deliver the highest safety standards as more becomes known about the COVID-19.
To see all the ways Metrolink is working to keep riders and team members safe, please visit metrolinktrains.com/health-safety.