City News

Madison Metro bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

Image By: Will Cioci

A Madison Metro Transit bus driver recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent by interim Transit General Manager Natalie Erdma to employees Wednesday.

The driver last worked on March 17, 18 and 19.

“If you were working on those days and happened to be in close contact with the operator, you may have been exposed,” Erdma wrote to all Metro employees. 

The notice also stated Public Health Madison and Dane County will not be releasing the name of the driver, but that they will have emergency paid leave until they recover.

The news comes two days after Madison Metro employees emailed a petition to Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway with requirements meant to better protect bus drivers during the international pandemic.

“We are on the frontline and we are being asked to hold this city together. Without us, many will not get what they need to survive,” Metro Transit employees wrote. “We’re being asked to be on the frontlines but we’re not being treated like the emergency workers we’re told we are. Morale is not good.”

The petition has several demands, including suspension of fare collection during the COVID-19 crisis, hazard pay for essential workers, proper safety equipment and easy access to bathrooms.

The petition — available online — currently has 1,176 signatures. 

As of last Monday, Metro Transit announced new changes that would comply with several of the Metro employees demands. Fares will no longer be collected in an effort to maintain social distancing and riders will also be required to exit through the back doors. 

Metro Transit also confirmed in a press release it is likely additional changes will be made in the coming weeks to the bus system to maintain access to essential services. 

“Metro Transit continues to play a critical function providing transportation for employees of essential services, including hospital workers, grocery providers, and others,” the service stated. “As transit agencies around the nation are adapting service and safety protocols, Metro Transit is joining them with additional measures.”

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