H1N1, or swine flu, is going to get a lot of coverage this season. Perhaps the extra attention will inspire us to boost our personal habits of preventing all flu and cold viruses.

We will continue to hear the suggestions from health authorities: Get in the routine of washing your hands — properly. Avoid coughing or sneezing onto the hands — use your sleeve. Keep hand sanitizer with you.

Many people have heeded these tips already. But what about changing deeply unconscious habits, such as touching your face? That’s not quite so easy to stop.

Then there is obviously good advice such as, “Don’t go to work when sick.” Except that not everyone has an employer that allows them to stay home without fear of repercussions.

It’s going to be up to riders to ensure the commuting environment is as healthy as possible.

GTA transit agencies may do additional cleaning to reduce the spread of germs, as well as co-ordinate with health authorities in responding to the swine flu, but don’t expect hand gel dispensers on every vehicle.

Spokesperson Kevin Carrington says the TTC is putting more attention on cleaning “high-traffic areas” such as handrails and stanchions (those poles we use to steady ourselves aboard vehicles). “Extra effort will be given to keeping those surfaces clean,” he says.

GO Transit’s Vanessa Thomas states GO “always maintains a high standard of cleanliness and we have all the relevant cleaning practices in place to ensure the safety of our passengers and our staff.”
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Attention GO Transit passengers: Managing director Gary McNeil has offered to answer rider questions in this space. If you have queries, email me at transit@eddrass.com.