GRTC says service disruptions expected Friday as bus drivers tested for COVID-19

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — GRTC said riders may experience significant delays Friday after a bus operator tested positive for coronavirus.

According to GRTC, bus operators will be allowed to take paid leave to be voluntarily tested for COVID-19. The news comes after a bus operator was the first to test positive and the second case of coronavirus within GRTC, the company said. Officials were asking that all operators and on-site staff be tested for the novel coronavirus.

“All operators and on-site staff schedule a COVID-19 test as soon as possible to stay ahead of any possible spread. As operators take paid leave to be tested and await results, GRTC cautions all riders that there may be significant service disruptions or cancelations over the next two days, GRTC said in a release.”

GRTC plans to ensure there is at least one bus in service on all routes Friday, but that means many routes have hourly service, the company added. Bus resources continue to be prioritized to high-ridership routes to encourage social distancing on-board.

According to the release, any employee who is asking to be tested for COVID-19 — regardless of symptoms — will be placed on immediate paid leave.

While bus drivers wait for test results, drivers should experience delays or cancellations. If GRTC does not have enough bus drivers they may have to cancel routes entirely.

Friday’s expected delays will cap an eventful week for GRTC.

8News reported Monday that dozens of drivers called out sick, demanding hazard pay as a result of working throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 8News learned that 40 drivers were demanding an additional $6 an hour. 8News reached out to a GRTC spokesperson who says participants of the organized call-out “were in violation of company policies.”

Some workers said GRTC was forcing them to return to work or risk termination, a claim that GRTC denied.

“Of course GRTC continues to provocatively make the work environment as safe as possible,” a GRTC spokesperson told 8News Thursday.

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