San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System confirmed Friday five positive cases of COVID-19 among its bus drivers.
Two drivers worked at First Transit, an MTS mini-bus fixed-route service, and three worked for MTS, confirmed Rob Schupp, Director of Marketing and Communications at MTS.
One of the drivers had been on vacation for two weeks before testing positive and did not return to work. They had no contact with riders or colleagues, Schupp said.
The other four operators worked on the following routes: 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 25, 215, and 944.
All five bus drivers are on paid leave, Schupp said.
“MTS is taking all precautions to help keep operators and riders safe. It has instituted rear door boarding, eliminated cash payments, provided masks to all operators, and made it mandatory to wear,” Schupp said. “Know that even before these precautions were implemented, direct contact between drivers, and the public was very limited.”
On Monday, the first positive case was confirmed. A driver operating First Transit. That employee's last day of work was April 2 and the positive test was confirmed on April 5.
Beginning April 13, the routes will be reduced and passengers will no longer be allowed to pay with cash to take the bus.
MTS officials noted that transportation services were still considered essential but should be only utilized by those conducting essential tasks, like going to the grocery store, refilling a prescription or attending a necessary doctor's appointment.
Ridership has decreased about 75% as a result of last month’s stay at home order, Schupp said.