CTA employee disinfecting interior surfaces of a rail car


Our No. 1 focus throughout the pandemic has been on providing the cleanest travel environment possible for you and our employees. We already have one of the most rigorous cleaning regimens of any U.S. transit agency and we remain committed to looking for new ways to make it even stronger. 

Learn more about how we're keeping our vehicles clean and disinfected:


What's new

Employees using new electrostatic sprayers to further enhance our already rigorous cleaning process on rail cars and buses

CTA workers shown using new electrostatic sprayers to further enhance our deep cleaning process on our rail cars and buses.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve introduced some new tools to further enhance our vehicle cleaning processes and provide you with a healthier travel space. Some of the new tools and measures we've adopted or tested include:

  • Electrostatic Sprayers
    New sprayer devices have been purchased to supplement our existing deep cleaning measures, allowing  personnel to clean our buses and rail cars more efficiently and thoroughly. The new devices apply an electrostatic charge to the cleaning agent as it is sprayed, which provides for an even distribution and allows the solution to cling to virtually any surface. 

    • B-roll of rail car cleaning with electrostatic sprayer (video

    • B-roll of bus cleaning with electrostatic sprayer (video)

  • Surface Coating
    To help address concerns of germs on surfaces in between cleanings, we’re testing new products on the interior of our vehicles that prevents certain materials (e.g. bacteria, viruses, liquids, etc.) from sticking to treated surfaces for an extended period of time.

We continue to research and test other new products, and are currently looking specifically at foggers and UV technology.


Daily cleaning

An out of service CTA bus receiving a deep clean at a garage.

Every vehicle –is cleaned daily, which includes disinfecting high-touch surfaces (seats, handrails, stanchions, etc.) and more-concentrated spot cleanings as needed.

  • Cleaning BEFORE service: Every rail car and bus is cleaned before it leaves for daily service—this includes wiping down seats, stanchions, grab handles and surfaces with disinfectant, as well as sweeping and trash removal.

  • Cleaning WHILE IN service: Workers disinfect the high-touch surfaces of rail cars at all terminals after they finish a run and before they turn around for another run. Workers have also been stationed at the Navy Pier, Jefferson Park, Howard, Midway and 95th/Dan Ryan bus terminals to use a disinfectant/cleaning spray to wipe down high-touch surfaces of buses serving more than 40 different routes.

CTA workers at the Howard Terminal tasked with disinfecting hogh-touch surfaces in rail cars between train runs.


Deep cleaning


In addition to daily cleanings, all vehicles undergo a routine "deep clean", which entails intensive cleanings of the interior surfaces from the top of windows to the floor. Each night of the week, approx. 300 vehicles -- 150 rail cars and 150 buses -- are deep cleaned.  As part of this process, crews will use a 3-in-1 product that cleans, disinfects and deodorizes all surfaces of the vehicles, including:

  • grab bars

  • grab handles

  • wall surfaces

  • floors 

  • seats 

  • stainless-steel panels

  • bus farecard readers

  • bus stop request pull-cords and buttons


Vehicle air circulation/ventilation

We have put in place many measures to mitigate the risk of indoor transmission of coronavirus. One area of focus is optimal air circulation and ventilation on board trains and buses.

The ventilation systems on our vehicles use a mixture of fresh air brought in by the frequent opening of the passenger doors, along with recirculated air that is filtered before being pushed back through the ventilation system ducts.

What this means is that the full volume of air within a CTA rail car is filtered by the ventilation system more than once per minute. The full volume of air within a standard, 40-foot bus is filtered at least 50 times per hour, and at least 70 times an hour on a 60-foot, articulated bus.  Filters on our vehicles are replaced approximately every two weeks.

We have also implemented other strategies to help fight the virus, , including strengthened cleaning and disinfection of surfaces; extensive signage and promotion of social distancing and the required use of masks while on CTA properties; and distribution of thousands of free Travel Healthy Kits, which contain a reusable cloth mask, 2 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer and healthy travel tips, etc.

CTA has been and remains committed to seeking out the latest technologies, methods and industry best practices to provide an even safer and cleaner travel environment for everyone. This includes researching new technologies and measures to help further improve air filtration and circulation across our bus and rail fleets.