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The safest modes of transportation during a pandemic, ranked

Using public transportation like the subway, a train, or bus can make it difficult to social distance or avoid touching shared surfaces.

subway coronavirus gloves

A person wearing gloves on a public subway train in New York City.

Braulio Jatar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media/Getty Images


Due to subway line closures and fewer people on the subway, it may be easier to maintain distance between yourself and other passengers.

However, crowded subway cars, trains, and buses can quickly become a hotbed of contaminants due to high foot traffic and riders touching, sneezing, or coughing on shared surfaces.

In order to attempt to curb this, the MTA in New York City has modified its schedules for the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad, and strategically planned its subway line service during “peak” travel times.

“I understand people are trying to get somewhere, but no one should be getting on a crowded train,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told local station NY1. “Spread out throughout the train, [or] wait for the next train.”

If you do have to travel using public transportation, be sure to wear some sort of face covering, use the least-crowded bus or subway car as possible, avoid touching shared surfaces, sanitize your area if possible, and don’t bring your hands close to your face. Travelers should also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash their hands after exiting the bus or train.

The CDC also recommends that instead of touching shared surfaces with bare hands, travelers should use a disposable tissue or even a sleeve to cover their hands or finger if they must touch something while traveling.

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