The local bus company hopes new technology will help business recover amid a pandemic

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Family-owned Rochester City Lines has been in business for more than 50 years, and the past year has hit them hard. Now they hope that a new technology will get them back on their feet.

City Lines owner Dan Holter said 2020 should be the greatest year ever. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit them and ruled them out.

“When 2020 started, the economy roared. People were using our services. The teams were using our buses. Then everything stopped,” said Holter.

Holter said the business was down 95%. He said at the beginning they could use paycheck protection loans to keep the business going and the employees would pay, but that came to an end. Eventually, Holter had to lay off employees. They went from 120 employees to fewer than 10.

While looking for solutions to his business, Dan received a tip from a friend about an air purification technology developed by NASA that is used on the International Space Station. It is different from a typical HEPA air purifier that uses a traditional filter.

Active Pure Technology company adopted and improved NASA technology. Company founder Mike Jackson said it was a coincidence that a pandemic was just arriving when they finalized the formula.

The product is a small free-standing unit and draws free oxygen and water molecules through the air. Oxidizing agents are created, which get back into the room. The product is approved by the FDA.

“It sends a purifying plasma through the entire environment and disinfects everything it touches,” said Jackson. “When an astronaut sneezes, it contaminates the entire international space station. So they developed a technology with the Aviation Department of the University of Wisconsin. Our technology is based on it, but it has evolved dramatically.”

According to Jackson, the Cleveland Clinic uses the product in their operating rooms, and schools across the country are also using the filters. He said the company only grew 112% last year.

Holter hopes the technology will help bring his business back to life.

“We used to drive 60 buses, now there are fewer than a dozen,” said Holter. “We’ll see how things get better. We are ready to respond as the economy allows.”

Holter has installed units on all buses and vans. He said they plan to start tours again in June.

Everyone on a tour is given a personal air purifier that goes around their neck for added protection and safety.

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