Disinfecting Your Commute | Onlia

Disinfecting Your Commute

Getting back to work soon? Here's how you can make sure your commute is safe & clean.

by Team Onlia

As cities begin to reopen, more people will need to make their way back to work. And for many, that means taking public transit. Due to the pandemic, ridership levels have dropped dramatically. But transit officials are expecting an increase in customers as provinces like Ontario begin reopening their economies. So how can we protect ourselves during the daily commute? Take a look at our tips to make sure you stay safe during your commute. 

Carry disinfectant wipes

Although transit officials use disinfection machines, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down frequently-touched areas. A group of scientists from the U.S. gathered bacterial samples from handrails on five public transit systems. The team found an average of 400,000 colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch.

If you’re standing for most of your commute, use disinfectant wipes before grabbing onto steadying bars. Using a bike-sharing program? Wipe down handles before pedalling off. 

Wear a mask and/or gloves

Although there are mixed reviews on mask effectiveness, Canada’s top doctor says that non-surgical masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Purchase a pack of disposables online or try this DIY version instead. Be sure your hands are clean when putting it on and taking it off. 

Gloves are also effective, but only if used properly. If you’re putting them on before boarding, never touch your face or phone with gloved hands. At the end of your commute, grab each glove by the wrist and remove inside-out. If you do happen to touch your phone, clean it with disinfectant spray to avoid bacteria transfer. 

Do a ‘seat-check’

Avoid sitting in a seat that’s visibly soiled. Studies have shown that cloth seats on buses and trains have particularly high levels of bacteria, including E. coli and even fecal matter.

The best way to protect yourself is to steer clear of visibly dirty seats and stand instead of sitting, if you can. Be sure to wash or sanitize your hands after exiting! 


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Don’t sit next to sick people

Stay away from other commuters who are visibly ill. Germs are easily transferred when people are coughing and sneezing on each other, especially in small spaces. If you’re on a crowded bus or subway and can’t step away, turn your back to the person who’s sick. 

Don’t touch your face

Did you know we subconsciously touch our face about 23 times an hour? Public health officials say the best way to avoid diseases like COVID-19 is to stop touching your face altogether. This rule is especially applicable when on public transit. Bacteria from dirty surfaces can transfer to your hands, then get into your body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Bottom line, don’t touch your face.

Live a healthy lifestyle

Even when you take all the precautions you can, sometimes it’s just not enough. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help fight off sicknesses you do contract. Be sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and keep up with a healthy diet. 

Lastly, explore other ways to get to work. If possible, consider walking to the office or catching a ride with your spouse. By leaving public transit for those who absolutely need it, we can allow commuters a safer space in which to get around.


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