Chemical Fogger Now Fighting COVID: MTS

Vital Oxide being sprayed on an MTS bus

Local buses are now getting frequent doses of of disinfecting fog, according to officials with San Diego's Metropolitan Transit System.

Public transportation, an essential element of getting so many essential workers to and from their places of employment, could be a coronavirus minefield for riders if not for the efforts undertaken by the MTS.

"In addition our nightly and mid-day cleaning with a germicidal bleach solution, we recently added a new spray solution called Vital Oxide," said MTS chief operating officer Mike Wygant. "It's an additional layer of product that is recommended by the EPA to kill COVID-19 on contact."

Wygant said that that MTS workers would spray buses with Vital Oxide every other day for now, increasing the frequency to daily applications if necessary.

Vital Oxide is a chloride dioxide solution that is sprayed in a fine mist that can decontaminate hard-to-reach areas and seats covered with fabric, as well as being drawn into and cleaning ventilation and air-conditioning units. Its makers say it kills 99.999 percent of bacteria and viruses.

MTS spokesman Mark Olson said that, for now, Vital Oxide is only being deployed on buses but that the system is "evaluating it for other applications that could include" trolley cars.

Officials also announced Friday that the MTS had began instituting temperature checks for trolley operators and bus drivers, making sure none of those employees are spiking fevers, one of the more common symptoms of the coronavirus.

Riders, of course, play a potential role in the spread of the illness as well, which is why, beginning on May 1, they too, must wear a face covering on board any MTS vehicle.

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