METRO - Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County

07/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/13/2020 18:04

METRO Bus Operators, METROLift Contract Drivers, MPD Officer Among Latest COVID-19 Cases

Release Date: July 13, 2020
Media Hot Line: 713.739.4040

METRO has received confirmation three bus operators, two First Transit contract drivers for METROLift, a METRO police officer and an operations manager have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total number of cases to 105 METRO employees and 26 contractors. Forty-seven of the employees had no contact with the public. METRO tracks and reports all positive cases among its workforce of more than 4200. We are also conducting temperature checks of employees before they begin their workday.

The first bus operator last worked June 30 and in the two weeks prior, drove the following routes:

The second bus operator last worked July 6 and in the two weeks prior, drove the following routes:

The third bus operator last worked July 4 and in the two weeks prior, drove the following routes:

*The charts above reflect the days the operators were on duty two weeks prior to their last days on the job.

One First Transit contract driver provided services for METROLift June 12,15, 23, 24, and 25. The second First Transit contract driver provided services for METROLift June 24 and 26, as well as July 1, 3, and 6. METROLift is an on-demand service and does not operate specific routes.

The MPD officer last worked March 20. The operations manager last worked June 23 and had no contact with the public.

Anyone who comes in contact with an individual who tests positive 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.

METRO is working with public health officials so they can identify and notify anyone who traveled the routes driven by the bus operators during those time frames as well as anyone else who may have been impacted by the latest positive cases.

Since mid-March, 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.

More safety upgrades are also being added to ​buses, trains and METROLift vehicles. Operators and riders will now have access to hand sanitizer while on board and protective shields around drivers' seats will provide another layer of separation between operators and the public. Operators and riders are required to wear a face covering while on the system.

We appreciate and greatly value our riders. We have taken many actions, including working with the community at large, to 'flatten the curve' of COVID-19. 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, 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.