MARTA using high-tech sprayers to quickly disinfect public transportation

MARTA and Delta Air Lines have teamed up to help make cleaning Atlanta's public transportation faster and more efficient as it prepares for riders to return.

Delta has given MARTA 30 handheld and 20 backpack electrostatic sprayers to be used in buses, trains, and rail stations. The devices spray disinfectant in a mist that sanitizes surfaces without leaving a residue.

Using the sprayers, MARTA says that it can disinfect areas in a fraction of a time that a typical wipe-down cleaning requires.

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“Delta’s willingness to share best practices allowed us to bypass a lengthy procurement process and gain access to this innovative cleaning technology immediately,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker in a statement. “We are grateful to our friends at Delta for this state-of-the-art equipment as we work to protect the health of our customers and employees for the duration of the pandemic and beyond.”


MARTA cleans and sanitizes its fleet of around 500 buses each evening while focusing on high-touch surfaces on hundreds of buses during the day. With the new technology, MARTA says crews can complete what would usually take 5 minutes in less than a minute, which allows more buses to be cleaned during their dwell time.

Using the backpack sprayers, MARTA estimates cleaners than sanitize a 450-foot, 6-car train in less than 20 minutes. The goal is to begin mid-day sanitizing of rail cars as long as scheduling allows.

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Cleaners will also be using the new devices on high-touch areas in rail stations, including Breeze machines, handrails, and elevator buttons.

MARTA officials estimate rail ridership was down by around 80% and bus ridership by 40% during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the upcoming weeks, officials expect ridership and the need to quickly disinfect areas will increase.

Transportation officials say they are also looking into other cleaning technologies including UV light, HVAC filters, and robotic cleaning machines.

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