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Green Bay Metro installs new air-purifying system on buses to fight COVID-19

GBM is the first transit authority in the nation to install the purifying system in its entire fleet
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 5:57 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay Metro is installing new technology into its buses to help keep commuters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The air-purifying technology is already used in hospitals, international airports and government buildings, but was recently adapted to work in buses.

Green Bay Metro is the first transit authority in the nation to install the purifiers in its entire fleet of 36 buses, which should be done by mid-November.

The purification system is called REME HALO and it’s installed on the HVAC system in the bus. For most of Green Bay’s buses, it’s on the top of the bus.

“The REME HALO uses a technology known as photohydroionization. It sounds complicated but it really uses what nature uses to clean the air inside of an occupied space and so we use a UV light against a metal halide catalyst and as air comes across this, we convert moisture in the air into low level hydroxides and we create them at level that is very effective at treating and killing airborne pathogens both viral and bacterial,” said Raymond Melleady, Executive Vice-President of the United Safety Corporation. “So that air coming into the vehicle from the air conditioning system is treated with this technology.”

“While its running, there is a little noticeable smell, similar to a dentist office,” said Kenny Hofer, maintenance manager at Green Bay Metro Transit. “So if you can smell it, then it’s working.”

Green Bay Metro Transit Director Patty Kiewiz said this is just one more thing they could to do improve safety on the bus thanks to the money they received from the federal CARES Act. Green Bay Metro received $6.4 million, $120,000 of it will go toward the air purification system.

“We are actually the first one to install it on the entire fleet,” said Kiewiz.

Kiewiz said they are also using the money to install driver barriers and a new cashless fare system."

“As of today, we are currently operating at about 30 percent of ridership pre-COVID,” said Kiewiz. “So we want people to know we have their safety as top priority and we hope this will make them feel more comfortable as they utilize our services .”

“We are willing to do everything we can to provide them the safest ride possible,” said Hofer.

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