Buses are now disinfected daily, as opposed to weekly, and transit centers are disinfected twice a day.

CANTON The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) is operating with caution to prevent the spread of germs and the novel coronavirus.


The state on Monday announced its first cases of COVID-19, which has spread globally since the outbreak began in December in China. Since late last week, SARTA has increased the disinfecting of facilities and added protective measures for bus operators and riders.


"All of our buildings have hand sanitizers in them," Executive Director Kirt Conrad said. "Our operators have personal protective gear that we equip them with: gloves, wipes and that kind of stuff."


Buses are now disinfected daily, as opposed to weekly, and transit centers are disinfected twice a day. Conrad said SARTA also recently ordered a "hospital-grade disinfectant" to use.


Conrad said the extra precautions are recommendations from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Stark County Health Department. SARTA is making contingency plans related to the coronavirus but has not altered any routes or other operations at this time.


"I think there's a balance of trying to be preventative but not to overreact either," Conrad said.