Foul-smelling bus seats get special attention
I rode city Bus 784 to Hawaii Kai recently, and the bus just stunk, like it had mildew in the seats. Many buses have a bad odor. I've asked bus drivers about it, and they've told me that the seats stink so bad they can barely endure it when they first get on before they turn on the air conditioner. If you look at the older buses, you can see filth and stain on the seats. Street people with filthy clothes sit on the seats, and the city never cleans them. Doesn't the Health Department have standards as far as keeping seats on public transportation clean?
Answer: Bus 784 was subsequently cleaned and passed inspection, according to Michelle Kennedy, spokeswoman for Oahu Transit Services.
The Health Department has no general sanitation regulations or standards regarding transportation carriers, including watercraft, aircraft, trains, buses, taxis and limousines.
Passengers who come across a soiled seat are advised to tell the bus driver or call TheBus' customer service office at 848-4500, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Give the bus number and location of the seat.
"We will then inform the maintenance department that the seat needs special attention," Kennedy said.
In the past year, customer service records show only 12 complaints related to dirty buses: six involving clothing soiled because of dirty/wet interiors and six about buses being dirty.
Short of a report by a driver or rider, it is up to the maintenance crew to spot a less than sanitary seat.
Asked about the homeless, Kennedy said, "The only homeless complaints relate to bus stops and shelters and not the homeless riding the bus."
She said all buses are subject to a cleaning process:
When a bus returns to the terminal at the end of the day, it is fueled, oil and water are checked, and the interior is given a general cleaning, including sweeping and trash removal.
Older buses are "detailed or super-cleaned" about once a month.
Whenever a seat is deemed in need of "special attention, the dirty seat insert is removed, steam-cleaned, then replaced with a clean insert, while the outer seat cover also is cleaned."
Other than that, "all buses are detailed once a month, with the seat inserts removed and steam-cleaned."
Regarding older buses, Kennedy said the oldest buses are 15 years old.
"We have an ongoing program to rehab some of our oldest buses to increase the bus life," she said. "A rehab includes new paint as well as new floors, seats and rubber."
By the time the face lift is finished, "a rehabbed bus smells just like a brand-new bus," Kennedy said.
To whoever found my eyeglasses at Kailua Beach Park the weekend of June 21 and hung them up on the palm tree. I've had those John Lennon-style frames for over 20 years now and would barely recognize myself in anything else. - Steven
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