Jan 5, 2022 - News

Metrobus service upended by unvaccinated employees

A closeup of a Metrobus operator holding the wheel.
Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Roughly 230 WMATA employees aren't following COVID testing policies on any given day, the agency tells Axios. Unvaccinated employees are supposed to get tested weekly.

Those employees not following testing guidelines are part of the reason the department announced Tuesday that Metrobus will experience service reductions and COVID policy changes amid recent staffing issues.

Why it matters: Since the ongoing investigation into the 7000-series rail cars, Metrorail customers have been advised to use Metrobus or other forms of transportation as alternatives while Metro operates without over 60% of its fleet.

But now, WMATA is advising Metrobus customers to use Metrorail or other forms of transportation while service is reduced, which may not be a viable option as both services are running less frequently.

What's happening: Starting on Jan. 10, Metrobus will run on a Saturday schedule on weekdays. Some routes will have additional trips.

  • MetroAccess will have fewer shared rides and more accessibility rides.
  • Metrorail will continue operating on its current schedule.

The changes also impact WMATA employees and COVID protocols.

  • Customer service call center employees will work remotely, keeping the same hours.
  • Employees who haven't complied with testing and vaccination policies will be put on unpaid suspension starting on Jan. 16. They'll be subject to termination if they don't comply after 30 days.
  • Starting on Jan. 31, employees will need to enter their booster shot information as part of their fully vaccinated status.

The bottom line: DMV-area public transportation options are slim and it's unclear when we'll see improvements.

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