CLEVELAND — For the last nine months, charter bus companies all over the United States have struggled to bring in a steady revenue with trips canceled and health orders preventing large group gatherings.
Barons Bus, a charter bus company located in Cleveland, can attest.
"We’re operating about a fourth of the buses we current operate," said Patrick Goebel, vice president of the company. "We’ll do maybe a tenth, a quarter, of the revenue that we normally do on a given year.”
Goebel said currently their buses are only being used for college sports and military trips. The company missed their busiest months of the year: March, April and May.
“Those months were wiped out with almost zero trips at all," Goebel said.
But instead of just waiting for the travel industry to bounce back, Barons Bus upgraded a portion of their fleet installing Far UV Lighting. Goebel said this type of technology is used in hospitals and medical facilities.
“What that allows is the bus to continually be disinfecting as it’s traveling down the road," he said. "As I'm breathing or you're breathing, it's continuously being disinfected, killing 99% of viruses, bacteria and mold."
According to the Barons Bus website, the UV wavelengths used in Far UV lighting are safe for human exposure because they do not penetrate the skin or eyes.
Goebel said they've only been installed in some of the buses currently being used, however, they plan to install the technology on their entire fleet. The total investment will cost nearly $300,000.
“We have to do this. This is offering the safest ride in the industry. This is what we need to do. This is how we're going to do it - no matter what the cost is to us. We want our riders to feel safe, our employees to feel safe and our drivers to feel safe while they're on the bus," Goebel.
Goebel said Barons Bus is the first in the charter bus industry to install this type of UV technology inside charter buses and already they've been taking calls from other companies who are interested in similar moves.
"This not only helps us, but it's going to help the entire industry move forward once we get past this COVID-19," he said.