Like many operators, Phil Streif has been looking for the best cleaning protocol and products to protect Vandalia Bus Lines passengers and employees from the spread of COVID-19.
In his search, he came across the antimicrobial treatment that inhibits the growth of microbes such as bacteria, molds and viruses for up to 90 days. Additional research led him to the BIOPROTECT system, which he believes offers the best option.
Streif’s discovery is benefiting his family business, as well as fellow operators. After sharing what he learned with operators in his Spader 20 Group, several wanted to try the product.
Soon, he realized it made sense to secure a distributorship under the new entity of Fleet and Facility Solutions, LLC so he could streamline the buying process for other operators. Using his tech skills, he set up a website Fleetandfacilitysolutions.com with a user-friendly product page tailored to the motorcoach industry.
“Our main goal is to get our buses going and our industry going,” said Streif. “I think this can be a game-changer, but I just don’t think people realize this product is out there.”
As operations manager, Streif is tasked with finding business improvements and innovative ways to make Vandalia Bus Lines better. The St. Louis-area company founded in 1932 has been owned by the Streif family since 1975. Streif, 30, is a third-generation operator, who joined the family business a decade ago. The company is currently led by his dad, Dennis, a UMA board member, his Uncle Dale and his Aunt Melissa.
The BIOPROTECT is based on several patented technologies developed by Dow Chemical, according to Greg Tipsord, CEO of ViaClean Technologies, which makes the product. The biotech company is headquartered in Philadelphia.
Tipsord describes BIOPROTECT as a surface protection between normal daily cleaning and deeper disinfection protocols. He says the products use Environmental Protection Agency registered technologies that disinfect surfaces and spaces, and provide long-term antimicrobial protection from microbes.
The water-based antimicrobial product when applied to surfaces creates a highly durable protective shield that provides long-term antimicrobial protection that inhibits and prevents the growth odor-causing bacteria, fungi, algae and mold, he said.
“What we’ve done is modified the surface to be positively charged,” said Tipsord. “We have this product approved to treat almost any material including drinking water filters.
Impressive lab testing
Streif says he was looking for a product that was best suited for motorcoaches, where passengers are continuously touching handrails and armrests, making it difficult to clean them between uses.
“We can use disinfectant to kill the virus or whatever is on it, but that’s temporary. The next person that touches it will contaminate it again. This is a more long-term, better solution for our type of industry, where there’s high traffic,” he said.
Streif says he was impressed after seeing laboratory testing that showed the BIOPROTECT System quickly eliminates, and provides long-term eradication and suppression of micobodes.
“We’re going to use this throughout the bus, not just not just on the surface, but we’re going to put this in our air filtration system, and people are going to be breathing a lot cleaner air since there won’t be pathogens floating around,” he said.
Already in use
The product already is being used in other industries, including aviation and retail. Streif thinks antimicrobial treatment makes a lot of sense for the motorcoach industry, whether that is BIOPROTECT or another product.
“I feel that BIOPROTECT is probably the most reasonably priced out on the market, from the research I’ve done,” he said.
Streif estimated the cost is about $45 per bus every three months because a gallon of the
concentrated product makes 10 gallons when mixed with water. The most efficient application occurs when the product is sprayed with an electrostatic sprayer or fogger, he added.
As with other operators, the majority of Vandalia’s nearly 80-bus fleet has been parked since March, with the exception of taking part in national and state rallies. Streif believes finding the right cleaning protocol will be key to helping passengers start feeling more comfortable about traveling on coaches again.
“Everyone’s scared to get on a bus because they’re worried about contracting COVID-19,” he said. “It’s going to be detrimental to our business until there’s either a vaccine or more safeguards like this are in place.”
Streif says he is happy to share what he’s learned with other operators. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.