Palm Tran invests in ultraviolet radiation technology to combat COVID-19

May 17, 2021
The system purifies contaminated air and recirculates it back into the vehicle.

Acting upon growing evidence that ultraviolet radiation is effective in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Palm Tran is installing “Breathe-Safe UV” systems in all of its fixed-route and Pam Tran Connection paratransit vehicles.

Since Palm Beach County began feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Palm Tran has instituted numerous safety procedures to protect operators and riders. These include installing heavy-duty protective glass barriers to reduce contact between bus operators and riders, regularly sanitizing buses at the end of routes and mandating riders and operators wear masks while on board the vehicles.

“Our responses to COVID-19 over the past year demonstrate our commitment to our customers and our employees, and the installation of these UV systems in our vehicles confirms that commitment,” said Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes.

Ultraviolet radiation is generated naturally by the sun and artificially in items such as tanning beds and welding equipment. Scientists have made the connection between ultraviolet light and its impact on bacterial and viral illnesses since the discovery of germ theory in the late 1800s. However, UV radiation’s impact on distinct bacterial and viral strains varies due to a number of biological and environmental factors.

The Breathe-Safe UV system was designed and patented by the company SanUVAire, which primarily installs UV radiation systems for transit agencies, school districts and hospitals. The system is installed in the vehicle’s air duct apparatus and purifies contaminated air and recirculates it back into the vehicle.

SanUVAire states: “When air passes over an air-handling system equipped with our Breathe-Safe UV Systems, there is a 96 percent to 99 percent kill rate of infectious diseases.”

The company specifies that the Breathe-Safe UV system has a 99.99 percent kill rate against COVID-19. As of March 2021, the system has been installed on the majority of Palm Tran’s fleet of 159 fixed-route vehicles.

Palm Tran Director of Operations Chad Hockman notes that those health benefits are a priority for the riders that utilize Palm Tran’s services.

“We are implementing the UV filtration system on our vehicles to ensure our operators and our customers feel safe using our vehicles,” said Hockman.