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Burbank airport comes clean: It’s dispensing free wipes for those grimy handrails

Burbank Bob Hope Airport
The writer’s hand is coated in black grime after holding onto the handrails on the moving walkways linking Burbank Bob Hope Airport’s terminals with the rental car facility.
(Jay Jones)

If you’ve used the moving sidewalks at Burbank Bob Hope Airport, you know all about the soot-coated handrails. Now the airport is providing wipes dispensers at both ends of the sidewalks.

Accompanying signs read: “Sanitizing wipes for your convenience.” 

I first reported on passengers getting grimy in November 2014, after experiencing the problem firsthand (pun intended). After flying into Burbank last Saturday, it took three towelettes to remove dark stains just from my right hand.

Officials at Burbank Bob Hope Airport have installed wipes dispensers so visitors can wipe the grime off their hands.
Officials at Burbank Bob Hope Airport have installed wipes dispensers so visitors can wipe the grime off their hands.
(Jay Jones )
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The moving walkways link the airport with the rental car garage and the Metrolink/Amtrak station just across Hollywood Way. They opened in July 2014, and the problem has existed ever since. 

So what’s causing the grit? 

In my first report, airport spokesperson Victor Gill, who has since retired, said the black residue might be coming from the rubber rails themselves, not from an accumulation of dirt.

Lucy Burghdorf, the airport’s current director of public affairs and communications, wrote in an email Monday: “The Airport Authority is fully aware of this problem and has hired a consultant to determine the cause and fix. At this time, the Authority cannot make any further comments because of potential litigation.”

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For two years, handrails at the airport’s moving walkways have been coating visitors’ hands with black residue.
For two years, handrails at the airport’s moving walkways have been coating visitors’ hands with black residue.
(Jay Jones )

During 2015, an estimated 478,000 people used Bob Hope Airport’s rental car facility, she said.

Until the problem is fixed, grab the wipes — or keep your hands off the handrails.

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