Metrobus begins slashed service due to COVID outbreak and staff shortages – NBC4 Washington
Metro is now cutting bus service as part of a series of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, amid a dramatic increase in cases in the DC area and a shortage of workers.
The transit agency announced the changes last week. They entered into force on Monday.
The Metrobus service on weekdays now operates on a Saturday schedule, although some routes will have additional runs.
The agency said these actions were necessary due to rising “absenteeism rates” among employees linked to illness and exposure to COVID-19.
“The reduction in service will ensure customers who depend on Metrobus, Metrorail and MetroAccess for transportation a more reliable schedule,” Metro CEO Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement last week.
“Metro workers live in some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic and are exposed to the outbreak in the region and across the country,” he said.
In addition, bus drivers will be allowed to bypass maskless passengers and operators of customer service centers will work remotely.
WMATA encouraged Metrobus customers to consider “alternative sources of transportation” for getting around the area, such as Metrorail.
Metrorail will continue to operate normally.
Unvaccinated employees are required to meet weekly testing requirements, the transit agency said. Those who do not adhere to the agency’s testing and immunization policies will be placed on unpaid leave until they comply. They will have 30 days to do so or face dismissal, Metro said.
Employees will be required to report their recall information by January 31 as part of their fully immunized status.