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How Often Does The CTA Clean 'L' Cars And Buses?

By Justin Breen | October 27, 2016 8:36am
 Cleaning CTA rail cars in a 24/7 operation
Cleaning CTA cars
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CHICAGO — What does it take to keep a CTA train or bus clean?

A lot, according to CTA spokeswoman Irene Ferradaz.

Asked by DNAinfo to provide a detailed list of ways the CTA avoids what it calls "instances of uncleanliness" in its trains and buses, Ferradaz sent a laundry list of cleaning procedures and products used to keep them clean. That includes routinely using germicide disinfectant cleaners and environmentally-friendly odor-controlling cleaners and shop vacuums.

"All rail cars are cleaned throughout the day, beginning before they leave the terminal or rail yard to start service," Ferradaz said.

RELATED: Where Do CTA Train Cars Go After They're Retired?

Ferradaz explained the cleaning process in a written statement:

• After each train finishes a run, but before it turns around and heads back into service, platform personnel walk through and clean the car — removing trash (like newspapers, discarded food packaging) and debris (like mud, snow) and wiping up any spills, etc. 

Every evening rail cars are swept and inspected at the terminal or rail yards. In an effort to combat pests, rail cars are treated with pesticides and fumigated monthly.

• In addition to daily cleanings, train servicers perform a more detailed cleaning of rail car interiors once every two weeks that involves mopping floors, scrubbing all surfaces, removing graffiti and cleaning upholstery. Some of the agents used include Miragreen, an environmentally friendly odor control liquid cleaner; a germicide disinfectant cleaner; graffiti wipes; foaming cleanser; and glass cleaner

• The CTA employs several cleaning tools. Those include a shop vacuum, which is used on upholstered seats; gum/tar remover tool; and sponges, mops, squeegees, brooms, latex gloves, safety goggles, brushes and trash bags.

RELATED: Bed Bug Scare On 'L' Prompts Train Car Cleaning, CTA Says

Ferradaz noted the "critical" role riders have in keeping the "L" cars clean.

"It is important to note the critical role our customers have in ensuring our system remains litter-free," she said. "The majority of instances of uncleanliness are happening mid-route, between the time a train leaves a terminal and arrives at the end of the line.

"For example, on lines like Red and Blue, total travel time from terminal to terminal can be 1.5 hours — during which literally thousands of riders can board and [leave] the train. For this reason, customers are strongly encouraged to follow CTA rules and refraining from eating, drinking or littering on the train."

RELATED: How Did The Red Line Get Under The Chicago River?

Ferradaz said the CTA uses similar cleaning techniques for its buses.

She said the CTA encourages riders to immediately report any cleanliness issues to either the bus operator or customer assistant or representative at the "L" station. Riders can also notify the CTA by contacting Customer Service at 888-YOUR-CTA (888-968-7282) or emailing feedback@transitchicago.com. 

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