Swabs, sprays and fog guns: How cleaners are keeping public transport on track

- Watch a full report from ITV News Anglia's Rob Setchell


Public transport services have played a crucial role throughout the pandemic but behind the bus and train drivers is a small army of unsung heroes; the cleaners.

At Greater Anglia, there are more than 300 cleaning staff - that's about a tenth of the company's entire workforce.

Their role is more important than ever as cleaning is stepped up in a bid to make trains Covid-secure.

The operator has spent £600,000 on new cleaning measures and equipment, including seven "fogging guns" used to spray a mist of anti-viral disinfectant. Every single carriage had been "fogged" by the start of September.

Eight powerful backpack vacuum cleaners are also used. They are fitted with four filters so they can clean the air as well as the train. Touch points are being swabbed to monitor how clean they are.

A Greater Anglia cleaner uses one of their new backpack vacuums. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The pandemic has seen passenger numbers plummet. They're currently just a third of the level they were last year.

"Although our customer numbers are lower than normal, we've still had to keep going," said Greater Anglia's Juliette Maxam.

"All through lockdown we were transporting key workers who needed to get to hospitals, supermarkets and care homes."

We're just trying to keep it as safe as possible so people can use the train if they need to.

Juliette Maxam, Greater Anglia

Bus company First carry millions across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire every year.

Its passenger numbers have halved - but cleaning efforts have doubled.

"We do daily cleans anyway but we're doing enhanced cleans as well," said Steve Wickers, Managing Director of First Eastern Counties.

"All the touch points are cleaned and all the surface areas. On the street and at the bus station, people jump on board during the day and clean."