Metro announced its Pandemic Taskforce is taking actions to protect the health and safety of its customers and employees against the recent surge in COVID-19 variants. Due to growing absenteeism rates across service areas related to COVID illness and exposures, Metro is reducing service schedules and implementing new workforce actions effective Monday, Jan. 10.
“Scaling back service will ensure customers who rely on Metrobus, Metrorail and MetroAccess for transportation have a more reliable schedule,” said Paul Wiedefeld, Metro CEO/GM. “Metro employees live in some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic and are exposed to the surge in the region and throughout the nation. It’s important that the taskforce take steps to make Metro operationally sound to meet the needs of our customers.”
Metro service levels will operate as follows:
- Metrorail will continue to operate on all lines as scheduled, with customers experiencing more frequent service at stations served by multiple lines.
- Metrobus will reduce service on weekdays to a Saturday schedule with additional trips on some routes, which is roughly 75 percent of regular Metrobus service and protects key routes that serve hospitals, grocery stores, and other essential destinations.
- Bus operators will be permitted to bypass customers not wearing masks for their health and safety.
- Metrobus customers are advised to consider alternative sources of transportation like Metrorail to travel throughout the region.
- MetroAccess will reduce shared rides and increase accessibility rides.
Metro’s customer service call center operators will work remotely due to the recent increase in COVID cases, but there will be no changes in hours of operation. As Metro continues to monitor COVID conditions throughout the region, employees will be held to vaccine or testing policy compliance to help combat serious illness and the spread of COVID-19 variants.
The following protocols have been communicated with all employees and will apply beginning Monday, Jan. 10:
- Weekly testing requirements will remain in place for unvaccinated employees as more frequent testing requirement are evaluated and test availability improves.
- Beginning Sunday, Jan. 16, employees who have failed to comply with Metro’s testing and vaccination policies will be placed on unpaid suspension until compliant. Employees will have 30 days to comply or be subject to termination of employment.
On Monday, Jan. 31, employees subject to eligibility will be required to enter booster shot information into Metro’s portal as part of their fully vaccinated status. All efforts and precautions are being taken to reduce serious illness and transmission of the Omicron variant to vaccinated employees and riders.