The simple act of opening a bus station door can be anxiety-inducing during a pandemic.
As a potential solution, Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) has entered into a partnership with local startup Outbreaker Solutions Inc. to implement new antimicrobial push plates, made of compressed salt, on the doors of eight LRT stations and two transit centres in the city.
The push plates were installed at Bay/Enterprise Square LRT Station as of Jan. 19, said transit spokesperson Rowan Anderson. The others will be in place "over the next month or so."
The six-month pilot program won’t cost taxpayers anything, said Craig McKeown, director of operations and maintenance of ETS.
"We're allowing Outbreaker to utilize our public spaces ... to the benefit of our riders and our public, and to the benefit of Outbreaker, as (it gets) the opportunity to trial and test and continue to use its products, to see how well this works."
McKeown added that there is an option to extend the agreement beyond six months, if the COVID-19 pandemic persists and the push plates are effective.
Matt Hodgson, co-founder of Outbreaker, said the sodium chloride surfaces can kill germs like bacteria, viruses, and fungi far faster than existing antimicrobial surfaces. They could be effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19. The salt is compressed into a "ceramic-like surface” and can be applied to any commonly touched areas.