SEPTA officials are investigating after two unsettling videos emerged this week, depicting several brown bugs crawling over the fabric on the back of a bus seat.
One video was posted online Wednesday afternoon by Crystal Lopez, who says she was on SEPTA bus 26 to Torresdale Avenue Tuesday when she was bitten by what she believes are bed bugs. Lopez said she had her arm draped over the back of the seat when she suddenly felt a burning sensation. When she moved her arm, she saw the bites—and the bugs.
“There were over 1,000,” Lopez estimated, adding, “They were coming out of the cracks in the seat. It was a lot.”
So I would like to share with everyone what I experienced on the #26 #septabus yesterday this is disgusting this goes to show that septa is not clean you know how many people I’m sure took bed bugs home with them yesterday this is unacceptable I definitely made a complaint to the septa supervisorPosted by Crystal Lopez on Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Lopez quickly told the driver, who pulled the bus over and ordered everyone off.
Officials said they received a different video and report from a rider on the R route who also saw alleged bed bugs Tuesday afternoon while riding the bus at Hunting Park Avenue and Fox Street, according to Andrew Busch, SEPTA spokesperson. He said workers immediately took the R out of service and fumigated it.
Busch added that he believes the same protocol would have been taken with the 26 bus following Lopez’s experience, but he’s confirming whether it was taken out of commission. SEPTA officials are still investigating whether the bugs in the two incidents are indeed bed bugs.
For Lopez, the bites are just the beginning. They run all up and down her arms, and she said she’s waiting to see a doctor over allergy concerns. She added that she immediately threw away all of the clothing she was wearing as soon as she got home from the bus.
“It makes me not even want to ride the bus anymore,” Lopez said, though she added she has to in order to pick up her kids from school. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
A representative from the Public Health Department did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday afternoon. Busch said SEPTA will provide updates as they learn more information, though he added that he doesn’t think this is an infestation.
He also said that SEPTA takes several precautionary measures to prevent infestations, including fumigating their buses once a month. The transit agency is also in the process of replacing their cloth-backed seats with plastic ones, which he said will make them easier to maintain.
Check back with Curbed Philly for more information as we update this story.