After a day of transporting customers, Valley Metro trains and buses get dirty. Getting rid of dirt and grime means a good washdown.
For trains, they go through a safety inspection before being washed. Afterward, crews clean and sanitize a train's interior.
When it's wash time, the trains enter what looks like a big carwash. The trains get a soapy wash and rinse off. About 2,900 gallons of water are used to wash light rail trains. The trains are washed every three days. Light Rail Maintenance Supervisor Rob Rosenberg said on the days that trains are not washed, they go through a rinse cycle.
After that, the trains are dried off and parked, ready for another day of service.
Like the trains, Valley Metro's buses get a good washdown too.
The process of washing a bus should be familiar to anyone who’s ever gotten an automated car wash. Bus drivers pull into the wash bay and brushes start cleaning the front, sides, and back of the bus.
It’s all finished off with a rinse and dry by industrial fans.
Facilities Maintenance Coordinator Russ Mogler said bus washing takes place between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. "One night it's even-numbered buses, and the next night odd-numbered buses. Each bus is washed twice a week."
The bus washes draw water from a large settling tank. After the water is used to wash vehicles, it is processed to remove contaminants, treat for odors. The water then returns to the wash system for reuse. "We only add fresh water to make up what is lost by evaporation and runoff," Mogler said.
The contaminants and waste are directed to an underground storage tank. A waste hauler comes in and empties the storage tank a few times a year.
For our riders, the regular cleaning of trains and buses is an ongoing commitment by Valley Metro.
Recently, Valley Metro replaced its two 18-year-old bus washes because the original facilities were older and not cleaning buses to an acceptable standard. Mogler said some of the requirements of the new bus washes were better cleaning, a spot free rinse, and reliability.