John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Still want to sit in cloth-backed bus seats?
Warning: This video may make you want to throw up while sneezing uncontrollably.
It's general knowledge that public-bus seats are not the cleanest places in the world. It's even worse when the seats are made from cloth, a material with an endless appetite for grime, dust and skin flakes. It may be out of sight and mind to the average bus rider, but that stuff is still down there when you take a load off. Let's make it visible, shall we?
Awww.... that dust cloud looks like puppy!
The above action ostensibly takes place on a MAN Lion's City bus serving the Polish burg of Bialystok. But filthy cloth seats aren't unique to Europe. Consider this retch-worthy New York Times piece on the seats of San Francisco's BART system. A university biologist took samples from random seats and found (drum roll please)... "fecal and skin-borne bacteria resistant to antibiotics" and high concentrations of "at least nine bacteria strains and several types of mold." This stuff kept growing on the seat even after the scientist cleaned it with an alcohol swab.
Haven't had enough filth yet? Then please enjoy this music video of a drummer whaling on a dingy Ottawa bus seat, this person making a hand print on a seat's oddly powdery surface and this visual explanation of how some of that fecal bacteria gets on there in the first place. I will be riding my bike home, thanks very much.