Linn Shuttle’s new bus sanitization system first in state for transit use

Scott Swanson

Linn Shuttle is breaking ground in the county with a new system designed to sanitize the interior of buses – completely.

Ken Bronson, director of the bus service, said the $30,000 AeroClave RDS system was originally designed to decontaminate ambulances, but he decided to purchase it for the buses operated by Linn Shuttle. The RDS unit dispenses a mist of Vital Oxide, a chorine-based disinfectant, through a port that has been installed at the rear of each bus.

Four of the system’s shuttle buses were outfitted for the spray by last Friday, Aug. 21, and Bronson said he hopes to have the entire fleet ready to go by the end of this week.

The dispenser pumps the fluid into the port on a bus via a hose, and a dispenser mounted in the bus wall emits a mist that fills the vehicle.

“It’s like a rolling cloud,” said Danny Bidwell, one of the shuttle service drivers and a board member at the Senior Center, which operates Linn Shuttle.

It takes 10 minutes to fill the bus, then the mist stays in the enclosed bus for another 10 minutes before the bus is ventilated, which takes about 10 minutes.

“Then we’re done,” Bronson said. He said he figures on approximately an hour for sanitization of each bus at the end of the day.

Bidwell noted that the cloud of sanitizer reaches every surface in the bus.

“That’s the cool thing a out it,” Bronson added. “You don’t have to reach down underneath a seat to clean it. It gets everything.”

“Then we just open windows and doors for 10 minutes. We can actually turn on the ventilation system and push it out,” Bidwell explained.

Bronson said the smell of the sanitization fluid clears out “really quick.”

Bidwell said the Vital Oxide solution converts viruses to salt and is safe for skin contact.

“If you swallow some, all you have to do is drink some water to dilute yourself,” he noted.

Bronson said that buses will be wiped down and desanitized by hand between trips during the day and will be sanitized at the scheduled trips, for the next day’s run. The cost per bus is under $2, he said.

Measures have already been taken to shield the driver from passengers with a ribbon-like curtain, and seats have been designated to keep riders socially distanced. But the new sanitizer simply adds to the cleanliness, Bronson said.

The fluid can also be used to decontaminate rooms, with a sprayer, he said.

“They’re going to use the end of the Senior Center for after-school education for the library,” he said (see page 13). “If someone in there gets COVID, we can close everything up, go in with this system and decontaminate the whole room.”