While Health Ministry coronavirus guidelines demand an adequate level of hygiene in public spaces, citizens and drivers nationwide reported that dust and filth are still prevalent on buses, and they fear that the poor sanitary conditions may serve as a hotbed for further outbreaks.
"I don't know whether anyone cleans and sanitizes the buses, but I try to do my part, keep a safe distance and wear gloves," a passenger told Ynet while waiting for the bus in Tel Aviv.
"It might be important to also check passengers' temperatures because it does not feel safe."
"The buses are filthy all the time," said a bus driver from central Israel.
"While schools are waiting to be sanitized, buses have become incubators. Some drivers were placed in isolation because they crossed paths with coronavirus patients on their bus, but the buses themselves were left on the road without even being disinfected. Nobody supervises this properly."
According to the driver, bus companies clean the vehicles at the end of each day, but in a way that does not meet Health Ministry standards.
"They just empty out the trash bins, but nothing more," said the driver. "They don’t clean inside, only every once in a while."
"There weren't this many passengers so far, but now they're back and they're touching everything," said a bus driver from Rishon Lezion.
"If nobody sanitizes [the buses] it could lead to a huge disaster. As the number of passengers increases, so does the risk."
The Transportation Ministry in response said that the responsibility for hygiene on buses is the responsibility of bus operators.
"The National Public Transport Authority has recently instructed operators to adhere to Health Ministry sanitation standards and clean each bus meticulously at the end of each workday with special attention to surfaces that passengers often come into contact with," the ministry said.
"Operators must use disinfectants approved by the Health Ministry and keep a record on bus sanitation."
The Health Ministry had issued guidelines to public transport operators at the beginning of March, shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that all public transportation vehicles will be sanitized.
The guidelines said that buses should be cleaned carefully at the end of each day, especially poles and handles.
Later that month, the ministry ordered to clean surfaces, handles, buttons, and switches with water and soap or other disinfectants at the end of each ride.