Detroit bus drivers, passengers battle bedbugs

DDOT drivers report bedbugs on many buses

By Lauren Podell - Reporter

DETROIT - From passengers to drivers, the rumor that bedbugs have invaded Detroit Department of Transportation buses is spreading.

"Over 50 (drivers) have complained about bedbugs on the bus, and I've had seven or eight of them even capture the bugs," said Henry Gaffney, president of Transit Union Local 26.

Gaffney said his union members have seen the bugs and have pictures to prove they have been bitten.

However, the drivers said they aren't getting any help in their fight against the pests.

"Everyday before I get into the seat, I'll spray seats down and the seems and the cracks where they say bedbugs tend to be," said driver Rudy Markoe.

Markoe has been driving a DDOT bus for 29 years. He wants to warn passengers that they may not know what they are walking into.

DDOT Chief Executive Ron Freeland released the following statement:

"The amount of bedbugs found wasn't unusual for a transit service with 100,000 daily riders. Any buses reported to have bedbugs, have been and always will be cleaned and fumigated ... where we have problems, we are addressing them, but bedbugs aren't a significant problem at this point."

The Michigan State Department of Community Health said bedbugs have been found on city and school buses in the past, but the bugs cannot survive for long in such environments.

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