"In the past year, we invested in new water vacuum-cleaning machines to deep-clean upholstered seat inserts," CTA spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler said. "These are used during intense cleaning and may also be done if there is a wet spill on the upholstery or a biohazard incident."A "biohazard incident" is most likely a homeless person urinating or even defecating on the seat. Or maybe it's just blood splattered from a stabbing or shooting victim. At least now you have something worse to think about than merely picking up a few bacteria while holding onto the pole.
Of course, swabbing the seats and poles is literally scraping the surface when it comes to risk of illness on the bus or train. What about the guy sitting next to you who has been coughing for fifteen minutes? Or the woman behind you who is holding her coffee and a book, leaving no hand free to catch the sneeze that just moistened your neck?