Thursday, April 16, 2020

METRO Bus Operator, METROLift Contract Driver Test Positive for COVID-19

METRO has received confirmation a bus operator and a Yellow Cab contractor who drove for METROLift have tested positive for COVID-19.  This brings the total number of cases to 11 METRO employees and two contractors.  The Authority continues to track positive test results among its workforce of more than 4200.  We are also conducting temperature checks of all employees before they begin their workday.  
The bus operator last worked April 1-3, 6-7, and 13.  During that time, the operator drove the following routes: 2 Bellaire, 4 Beechnut, 152 Harwin Express, 153 Harwin Express, 298 Kingsland/Addicks/NWTC/TMC Park & Ride and TMC Shuttle.
The Yellow Cab contractor last provided services for METROLift on March 27.  METROLift is a paratransit on-demand service which does not operate on specific routes. METRO will contact riders who utilized the METROLift services driven by that contractor within 14 days of the time frame in which the contractor last worked. 
METRO is working with public health officials so they can identify and notify passengers, and any employees who may have been in close contact with the two.   Those customers should monitor themselves for possible symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as you develop any symptoms, and self-isolate to avoid possibly exposing others, including refraining from using public transportation.
Since March 20th, METRO has sought to minimize the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission by operators or passengers by encouraging social distancing.  On March 23, the agency temporarily suspended collecting fares to avoid unnecessary contacts.  Shortly thereafter, orange mesh fencing was installed across the aisles of every local bus to assure appropriate distancing between operators and passengers.
We appreciate and greatly value our riders. However, we are working with the community at large to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 virus. To prevent or minimize its transmission on the transit system, METRO asks all riders to use the system only for essential trips at this time, wear a facial covering while riding the system, practice social distancing when you do ride transit (i.e., stand or sit at least 6 feet apart, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, wash your hands for 20 seconds before boarding transit and after deboarding, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your elbow, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and stay home if you are sick). Additionally, riders should board buses only from the back door, and stand or sit no closer than six feet behind the driver. 
METRO’s number one priority is protecting the health and safety of our customers, community and employees.