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Madison Metro Transit driver tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

Madison Metro Transit driver tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

Metro Transit

A Madison Metro Transit driver has tested positive for the new coronavirus, public health officials told Metro Tuesday.

Public Health Madison and Dane County did not share the driver’s identity or other details with Metro, and interim Metro General Manager Natalie Erdman said in a letter to employees the driver is “not required to disclose their identity.”

Erdman said Metro Transit was told it is unlikely the driver — who last worked a split shift on March 17, 18 and 19 — contracted the virus from a passenger while working, Isthmus first reported.

Some Metro employees sent a petition Tuesday to Erdman and Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway with a list of demands for working amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erdman said some of the demands have already been fulfilled, such as not collecting ride fares and passengers only using the rear door of buses to enter and exit.

“We have many drivers who are stepping up to provide this critical service, and I am deeply grateful for them,” she said. “My job is to provide a safe working environment.”

In her letter, Erdman said Metro will begin seeking daily input from Teamsters Local 695, which represents drivers and other Metro employees, on more ways to improve working conditions.

Other changes Metro has made include reducing service and capacity, cleaning buses on a nightly basis and no longer switching out drivers during the day, Erdman said. The city of Madison also provided drivers with 10 days of emergency paid leave, which Erdman said drivers should use if they are not feeling well.

“There are many people who are transit-dependent, even now we have people who need to get to work that is essential,” she said. “We care about the health and safety of our employees and our passengers, so we’re taking measures quickly.”

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