This Army of SEPTA Cleaners Keep Vigilant Against Coronavirus to Protect Riders

David Bjorkgren
Angela Blake needs her job as a SEPTA cleaner but she worries about the coronavirus with an asthmatic child at home. Image via Jessica Griffin, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

SEPTA workers already toiling to keep the transit agency’s vehicles clean now must take precautions against the coronavirus, writes Jason Laughlin and Patricia Madej for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Shawn Robertson, 59, a SEPTA cleaner, said the virus has made the job “a little more depressing than usual.”

SEPTA has an army of more than 500 workers who clean and disinfect stations and vehicles.

Buses, trains and trolleys are thoroughly deep cleaned every 10 days now, up from 30 days previously. . Vehicles are sanitized at least twice a day.

“We take care to make sure we’d want to sit down on that train,” Robertson said.

Mike Bush, 38, who cleans Broad Street Line stations, said cleaners don’t get much public respect but the cleaners themselves are proud of the work they do.

To date, 15 cleaners have gotten ill from COVID-19. Overall, 290 SEPTA workers have contracted the coronavirus. More than 180 are back at work. Seven have died.

SEPTA is running again with rider limits and masks. There are worries about social distancing on packed trains and buses even as SEPTA is eager to show that rides are clean and safe.

Read more about the efforts of SEPTA cleaners to stay ahead of COVID-19 here.