Arcadi España presents the analysis of Covid-19 in Metrovalencia

filed under Corporate, Noticias FGV, Noticias Metrovalencia, Noticias TRAM.

  • Samples of station elements, circulating units and air conditioning filters collected in June have been analysed
  • Arcadi España underlined that Metrovalencia and the TRAM d’Alacant have recovered 20% of their users in the last two months

The Minister of Territorial Policy, Public Works and Mobility, Arcadi España, has announced the results of a new scientific study carried out in June, which determines the absence of infectious traces of COVID-19 in Metrovalencia facilities and trains.

This study, carried out in collaboration with the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology’s laboratory of Environmental Virology and Food Safety (VISAFELab) belonging to the Spanish National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), has analysed samples of “high-contact” elements, circulating units and air conditioning filters collected in “high-traffic” stations, according to the authors of the report.

The conclusions reached determine that “almost 90% of the samples collected do not contain traces of SARS-CoV-2 ARN in any of the analysed targets”. Furthermore, details show that, of the 24 samples analysed, “only three of them, from train return air grilles, showed traces of SARS-CoV-2 ARN for a single target, indicating that the samples are not infectious”.

To minimise the risk of false negatives, each sample was tested using three SARS-CoV-2 specific RT-qPCR systems, covering three different areas of the virus. Each of these three areas in the scientific report is called a target.
After meeting with the managing director of FGV, Anaïs Menguzzato, Arcadi España explained that, in order to review the COVID-19 measures in force in Metrovalencia, this new study “is in addition to those carried out in June and September 2020 by the public company, in which infectious coronaviruses were not detected either”.

The Minister stressed that “these scientific studies are necessary to situate ourselves in the pandemic and, above all, to transmit confidence and security to users of public transport services, especially at a time when we are experiencing a gradual increase in passengers”.

In June, the number of daily users exceeded 150,000 on Metrovalencia and 30,000 on the TRAM d’Alacant for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, which means regaining almost 70% and 80% of the passengers who used public transport before the health crisis in Valencia and Alicante, respectively. These figures represent an increase of approximately 20% in the number of passengers compared to April.

On the other hand, the Minister of Territorial Policy also highlighted that “FGV is the only public transport operator in Spain that carries out such thorough tests in its facilities on a regular basis”. “We are at the forefront in terms of transparency with our users, in order to give them peace of mind”, he added.

Sample collection and analysis

The samples for this study were selected in the areas with the highest traffic and on elements that are most in contact with FGV users. Thus, the worst conditions were always sought out: high-traffic stations and trains, and high-contact elements. The sampling operation was repeated after the usual cleaning processes.

Xàtiva and Colón stations were selected for being the busiest ones. Samples were collected from escalators, transit areas, elevator buttons, vending machines, and handrails.

With regard to the trains, samples were obtained from units that ran between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and through busy areas. Control points were fixed on interior doors, handrails, exit and entry opening buttons and handles, and inside the air conditioning filter flap.

In this sampling, 24 samples (brushes) were analysed. Process control recovery values higher than 1% were obtained on all the brush samples, validating the results (ISO 15216-1, 2017).

Preventive measures

The Minister explained that “the study carried out is in addition to the other initiatives that the Generalitat has launched in recent months to ensure safe transport, and that they include the reinforcement of the cleaning and disinfection of trains and facilities, the renewal of the air every three minutes inside all units, and an increase in staff dedicated to informing travellers”.

In particular, the COVID-19 assistants have made it possible to inform users about the prevention measures adopted in public transport as a result of the pandemic and collaborate with controlling numbers, helping with the correct distribution of customers on platforms and units.

Arcadi España reminds us that “although the pandemic incidence data continue to improve, it is still mandatory to wear an approved protective mask during the entire journey and at all times within the facilities of Metrovalencia and TRAM d’ Alacant”.

Customers also have access to hydroalcoholic gel dispensers in station lobbies and inside metro and tram units.