Thankfully, nobody smokes on buses and trains these days. Unfortunately, some passengers still manage to ruin the travelling experience for others with anti-social behaviour that leaves seats and carriage facilities dirty and unhygienic.

Gone are the days of cigarette butts on the floor, ash on seats and, worst case, burn marks on the walls and fabric. Those nasty habits have mostly been kicked into touch, but feet on seats, rubbish and greasy fingers can still leave some passenger areas looking a right mess.

Time for action!

Things have got so bad that, according to a recent BBC report, London Midland staff have been issuing cautions to unruly passengers on Birmingham routes (click the BBC link above to watch the video). Some cases could lead to prosecution.

Some of the “guilty”, especially those who have been challenged and charged, say enforcing the old bye-laws is a waste of police time, and that feet on seats is nothing more than a bad habit. Most passengers seem to disagree, especially when you chat to fellow travellers and assess the results from recent National Rail Passenger Surveys.

In fact, a Merseyrail spokesperson was quoted in the Evening Standard saying that they are “tackling things that aren’t the crimes of the century but which irritate the 99.9 per cent of passengers” who do feel that such behaviour is unacceptable.

Fines aside, what can be done to improve matters?

TBM has been responding to transport operators’ calls for assistance for nearly a decade. One of our core services is overhauling bus, coach and train seating. We offer a full service if required. Seat mechanisms can be repaired, fire-proof membranes can be checked and replaced, and the visible seat covers are deep-cleaned.

The cleaning process is thorough. We not only get rid of the dust build-up caused by daily use and, horror of horrors, feet on seats, but unsightly stains are removed. Crucially, the approved detergents we us ensure that germs hidden within the fabric are killed. You know, like the old adverts, 99% of known… you get the idea.

Some companies steam-clean seat covers while carriages and vehicles are in situ at depots, but that forces dirt and grime deep into the foam and can ruin the protective fire barrier. We don’t! Most operators prefer to send their seat covers to us, to our Cheshire base. We blast and hoover the loose particles, then put all covers through our industrial Renzacci dry cleaners that get the seating fabric pristine. They even smell great! The covers are all wrapped in plastic sheeting and then returned to customers.

Keeping the public happy is increasingly important for train companies. If seats look dirty they are more likely to take their business elsewhere, use competitors running services on the same routes, not make that journey again or complain. Nobody wants negative publicity spreading like wild fire on social media, but with most passengers carrying smart phones, anything that doesn’t meet with their satisfaction will be photographed and uploaded to Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and others.

TBM’s seat cover cleaning service is quick, effective and affordable. It makes sense to incorporate it as part of your ongoing maintenance schedule. It keeps buses and trains looking good, and the passengers are happy to use the services. Win, win!