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Open Thread: How do we keep our transit system pest-free?

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After possible bed bugs were found on buses this week, we want your opinion on SEPTA’s cleanliness.

Earlier this week two videos emerged depicting brown bugs—possibly bed bugs—crawling across the backs of two SEPTA buses.

The videos were unsettling, to say the least, and prompted SEPTA officials to snap into quick action. They shut down at least one of the buses Tuesday and fumigated it immediately following the alleged bed bug report, according to Andrew Busch, SEPTA spokesperson. He said he believes the same was done with the second bus as well. The videos were captured on bus routes 26 and R on Tuesday afternoon, and SEPTA is investigating if they were isolated incidents.

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 supervisor

Posted by Crystal Lopez on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The images and videos made the rounds on the internet Wednesday, sparking shock from Philadelphians on social media.

Busch said the transit agency takes regular precautions to guard against infestations, like fumigating their buses once a month. He added that they’re in the process of converting the cloth-covered bus seats to plastic, which will make them easier to clean and maintain in the future.

Still, this is not the first time SEPTA has had insect trouble. Back in 2015, a similar picture of possible bed bugs on a SEPTA bus seat went viral. Just last year, spiders showed up at the MFL’s Spring Garden station, scaring riders.

Sure, bugs, insects, and spiders might just be a part of the rich fabric that is living in a city, but it’s still not pleasant. So we want to turn to you—how could the public and SEPTA work to keep our commuting spaces cleaner and rid of pests? Does SEPTA need to implement a more regular cleaning schedule? Should there be stricter rules for what you can and can’t take on public transit? How would you advise the city to prevent against these pests?

Let us know in the comments below.

  • Video shows alleged bed bugs on SEPTA bus [Curbed Philly]
  • Viral photo appears to show bed bugs on SEPTA bus [PhillyVoice]
  • Spiders are scaring SEPTA commuters at one station [PhillyVoice]

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