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Cleaning, distancing, more buses: The C1 during COVID-19

<p>Duke has implemented distancing and cleaning precautions to keep buses safe during the coronavirus pandemic.</p>

Duke has implemented distancing and cleaning precautions to keep buses safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Say goodbye to jam-packed bus rides between East and West Campus. 

Along with Duke’s other health measures to protect students, faculty and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, there are new guidelines for transportation. Riding the C1 bus between East and West now involves new boarding procedures, social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing. 

Before COVID-19, the C1 had a reputation for overcrowding. During high-volume hours, when students gathered with friends or caught rides to class, trips could feel suffocating. Last fall, Duke Parking and Transportation Services added another C1 bus to reduce the number of passengers on a single trip.

But those crowded rides are now of a bygone era.

Buses are currently running at 50% capacity, with every other seat marked off with a red “X” to promote social distancing. On the floor of the bus, footprint stickers indicate where standing passengers are allowed. Hand sanitizer bottles are positioned at the bus entrance.

To protect bus drivers, the door at the front of the bus has been closed off. Passengers may enter at the rear and can only board once all previous riders have stepped off. 

To account for varying class schedules and decreased bus capacity, Duke has increased the number of C1 buses. This reduces wait time at the bus stops, where physical distancing and mask-wearing is also mandated. Buses are running at brief seven-minute intervals to meet student demand. 

In order to prevent potential surface transmission of the virus, all buses undergo daily deep cleanings. Seats and handlebars are wiped down with hospital-grade disinfectant, and the vehicle’s exterior is disinfected weekly.

Vigorous cleaning takes place every two weeks with electrostatic sprayers—high-tech devices used in airplanes and other modes of mass transit that disinfect hard-to-reach spots. Duke Parking and Transportation Services has enlisted the cleaning company Cenplex Building Services to do this.

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