PORTLAND A study released Thursday revealed how dirty TriMet s buses can be, and showed that the cloth bus seats contained the most bacteria.
The average sample bus seat contained about 80 bacteria colonies.
The study, conducted by The Oregonian newspaper and Portland State University, tested 13 random bus seats on five different lines.
One TriMet driver, who asked not to be identified, told KGW he was not surprised to hear the seats were nearly as dirty as the floors.
I ve seen seats soaked in urine and or there s fecal matter or vomit, you know, when someone has colic and kids vomit and mothers vomit and it s on the seat, he said. I ve seen it and I ve smelled it, and with these cloth seats there s no way to get them cleaned up.
TriMet officials said they would be adding vinyl seats to 55 new buses over the next six months.
Researches tested the vinyl seats on MAX trains and found that they were much cleaner, averaging about two bacteria colonies per seat.
The agency admits it was forced to make deep cuts to its cleaning crews, but spokeswoman Mary Fetsch said it's impossible to keep a public space completely germ free.
Really it s just about people practicing good health habits: washing their hands, things like that, Fetsch said, just really anything you would do at any other public space.
TriMet Bus rider Heather Hoffmann told KGW she was not very concerned about the findings.
I work with kids on a daily basis; they re full of bacteria and crazy germs, too, Hoffmann said. I just wash my hands a lot.
TriMet hoped to eventually add vinyl seats to the entire bus fleet.