Boru: Unhygienic trips on Metro Transit

The Twin Cities needs to improve cleanliness on public transit.


by Luul Boru

I was recently on the Metro green line headed to St. Paul, and what I saw and smelt was beyond disappointing. Metro Transit is a means of transportationthat is utilized by Minnesotans –young and old. The train has made transportation in the Twin Cities much easier for its riders.

But at what cost?

Years ago, before the pandemic, the only complaint I had was the foul smell at the train stations, especially in the downtown area. The inside of the train was bearable and okay to ride, for however long, at the time. Now, however, the odor inside the train is very much unbearable.

The longer the trip, the worse the smell gets. There is trash on the floor. The seats have dried stains on them that at times reek. And if you want to stand for the duration of the trip, it becomes inevitable to hold onto the bars and who knows if the next COVID-19 variant lives on those handles.

I used to love taking buses and trains as it gave me a moment of peace.

There was no need to use my cellphone. The creative side in me came out during those trips. I always carried a book and a pen with me to jot down words of poetry. What used to be my piece of mind turned into a dreadful trip I would rather avoid. I have to breathe through my mouth in hopes not to smell the foul stench assaulting my nose and of all the passengers from every angle. It is as if there is no proper ventilation installed.

The trains are not sanitary. According to the metro council website the trains get sanitized and cleaned during downtimes and sometimes between trips. As a rider, I can say that it doesn’t always feel like that.

In early 2020, the Metropolitan council held a press conference to announce efforts to improve the safety on Twin Cities buses, and I agree that this is also a major concern, but so does public health. We are the public the city is serving yet not doing an adequate job to fulfill its duty.

There is a focus and safety on Metro Transit trains and buses. As much as I appreciate taking our safety seriously, it is equally important to take our health very seriously as well.

People of different ages, backgrounds and medical conditions ride both buses and trains. The unhygenic environment in the stations and from inside the trains and buses can negatively impact the health of riders. The longer the exposure, the more complicated one’s health can get. And this exposure is inevitable as many of us use this mode of transportation on a daily basis to take care of our necessities.

I urge our city to take the health of riders seriously and work to keep trains and buses clean.