Maharashtra: State-run transporter to test its anti-microbial coated buses for viruses

After deciding to coat over 10,000 buses with anti-microbial chemical to prevent the spread of bacterial infections among passengers, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has now decided to perform swab tests on these coated buses.

The MSRTC on Friday floated a tender for selection of a laboratory to test the coated buses for H1N1, SARS or influenza viruses from the coronavirus family and check the efficacy of the anti-microbial chemical coating. The last date for submission of the tender is September 6.

Anti-microbial coating is a process of applying a chemical agent on different surfaces that can prevent growth of disease-causing microbes.

Earlier, considering the Covid-19 situation, the MSRTC had decided to apply an anti-microbial chemical coating on its buses. Believing that the coating will help reduce the transmission of viruses and also maintain hygiene, a tender was floated, following which two agencies were given a contract to coat the buses.

Coating each bus will cost Rs 9,500. Of the two contractors, while one will coat buses once in six months, the second will coat buses after every two months. All seats, hand rests, guard rails, windows, railings, driver cabin, flooring, rubber glazing, passenger and emergency doors as well as the luggage compartment among others will be treated with anti-microbial chemical coating. Swabs would also be collected from spots like these, said officials.

The MSRTC, which has 17,500 buses in its fleet, is the first transport corporation to carry out such a drive in the country. According to the tender, MSRTC intends to appoint a laboratory, which will take swabs from buses and test them to verify if traces of H1N1, SARS or influenza are present. The laboratory is expected to test around 9,000 swabs in a year.

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