Safety comes first
Omnibus Magazine

Safety comes first

Hygiene and safety measures during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

High safety for drivers and passengers: Mercedes-Benz is supporting bus operators during COVID‑19 with driver protection doors, active filters for air conditioning systems and other practical accessories.

Mercedes-Benz is synonymous with safety, and this is particularly true during the pandemic. Now as before, drivers and passengers can confidently enjoy travelling on buses bearing the three-pointed star because they are afforded high levels of safety on board – including protection against infections.

Drivers on local public transport services have the closest contact with passengers. Mercedes-Benz has therefore taken an initial step of developing professional protective doors for the Citaro city bus. Full-length transparent partitions in real glass and now also high-quality polycarbonate protect the driver against droplet infection, and replace improvised solutions. This allows passengers to use Door 1 to board the bus and the driver to check tickets.

The Citaro driver protection doors area available as a fully closed version or with an opening for selling tickets. They can be factory-fitted to new vehicles or supplied as a retrofit solution. For the Mercedes-Benz low-floor municipal service bus, protective doors are available in glass or polycarbonate.

Drivers of Mercedes-Benz intercity and touring coaches should benefit from the same level of protection as their colleagues in the public transport sector. Therefore, since the middle of August, driver protection doors have been available for all current Tourismo model series. This applies both to new vehicles and retrofit solutions. A retrofit solution for the Intouro is currently also in development.

Passengers may be worried about the risk of infection associated with spending time in an enclosed space. However, Mercedes-Benz is also keeping a watchful eye on the on-board climate. In city bus operations, the regular stops at bus stops just a few hundred metres apart mean doors are open for longer, which has a positive effect on the rate of exchange of fresh air. 

If fitted, additional vent openings such as hinged windows or roof hatches can be used to increase the flow of fresh air. However, if factory-fitted roof-mounted air conditioning systems are activated, hinged windows and roof hatches should remain closed in order to prevent control errors. 

In the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo touring coach, the technology of the fully automatic air conditioning is responsible for the fresh air supply, with air continuously being renewed. At prevailing outside temperatures of between 8 and 26 degrees Celsius, the system operates in maximum fresh air mode, which causes the rapid renewal of air every two minutes. Both at low and high temperatures, climate control systems work in mixed-air mode. In this case, the renewal of fresh air in the interior compartment takes place every four minutes. For comparison: the guideline for living spaces is that the air should be exchanged only once every two hours, and in offices just once an hour as a minimum.

Mercedes-Benz goes the extra mile: on request, the maximum amount of fresh air from roof-mounted air conditioning systems can be increased by one-third by extending the temperature range for the maximum fresh air supply both upwards and downwards. For touring coach operators, this additional proportion of fresh air from the air conditioning unit represents an attractive opportunity for significantly lowering the risk of infection for drivers and passengers, even if it does mean a slight compromise on temperature comfort and fuel consumption. Mercedes-Benz customers can ask their personal sales associates to give non-binding advice on this subject.

Filter systems in the climate control systems of Mercedes-Benz buses are already in use to remove particles from the air. New active filters considerably increase their effect: the high performing multi-ply particulate filters are built up in successive layers, one of which has an antiviral function. It filters out the finest aerosol particles. This has been demonstrated in physical tests and microbiological studies. The active filters are used in the roof air conditioning, the air recirculation filters and the front climate control box. They have been available to order since mid-August for the current Tourismo, both for new vehicles and as a retrofit solution. Mercedes-Benz will be able to retrofit this equipment to models which are already on the market by the date stated. Corresponding active filters will be available for the Citaro before the end of the year. Vehicles equipped with an active filter will also be provided with a sticker in the entrance area which will be visible to passengers.

Active filters in the climate control system

Active filters in the climate control system

Active filters in the climate control system

Active filters in the climate control system

Minimisation of pollutants through efficient fine filtering of fresh and recirculated air.

Minimisation of pollutants through efficient fine filtering of fresh and recirculated air.

Germs can spread quickly especially in places where people congregate in large numbers. This makes regular hand hygiene very important. The most hygienic solution for buses is a sensor-activated disinfectant dispenser. This contactless variant prevents hands from touching the applicator so that no transmission of germs can take place. The sensor-activated disinfectant dispensers are expected to be available to order from the end of August, first for the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo and then for other models as well. 

Before setting off:

  • With the engine running and with the doors and driver’s window closed, purify the interior with fresh air (with the HVAC system turned off). This should take four minutes with the blower set to at least 50 per cent. Afterwards, activate "HVAC AUTO" mode.
  • Check that the ventilation grilles in the luggage compartment and underneath the spare wheel are clear.

During the journey:

  • Keep the driver's window and window hatches closed.
  • Set climate control to "AUTO" mode, only use the "SMOG" and reheat buttons if required.
  • To avoid the "SMOG" button in traffic jams, maintain a good distance from the vehicle ahead.
  • The air renewal rate can be further increased by setting the blower speed higher.

After the journey:

  • With the engine running and with the doors and driver’s window closed, purify the interior with fresh air (with the HVAC system turned off). This should take four minutes with the blower set to at least 50 per cent. Afterwards, activate "HVAC AUTO" mode.
  • Check that the ventilation grilles in the luggage compartment and underneath the spare wheel are clear.