The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) announced that a driver who is employed by their subcontractor, RATP Dev USA, Inc., tested positive for the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. The driver operated routes 77 and 6 on Monday, 9/7; Soda Cap 1 on Tuesday, 9/8 and last worked Wednesday, 9/9/2020 and drove 1302 Tripper USC. The driver will continue to self-quarantine for 14 days and then be retested.

Since the start of the pandemic, The COMET has put in place some of the most stringent cleaning and safety measures in the transit industry. Bus operators and staff are required to use the multiple temperature check stations, located in the administration building which houses the drivers’ lounge, upon reporting for their shift.

Daily disinfection of all vehicles and facilities has been implemented for months and mandatory masks or face coverings to ride The COMET buses or enter facilities went into effect early last month. The COMET is also in the process of securing and installing barriers between the drivers and passengers in order to minimize the possibility of any exposure. A temporary plastic barrier was installed on some smaller vehicles as a pilot while the organization solicits bids from companies that specialize in the barriers needed for buses and vans.

“The safety of our bus operators, our riders and the public is top of mind, especially during this pandemic,” said John Andoh, Executive Director/CEO of The COMET. “We are constantly exploring newer and better ways to ensure that we protect staff and passengers so that they can travel as safely as possible.”

In addition to the mandatory mask policy, drivers were also given face shields to further protect themselves and their passengers.

“We acted swiftly, responsibly and in good faith to minimize any possible exposure. We have implemented temperature stations in the administration lobby so that our drivers and staff are checked daily before their shift. Along with the daily sanitizing of our facilities, the mandatory mask requirements and other measures, we believe we have done our part to reduce the possibility of spread,” added Andoh. “Because we enforced masks and other safety measures, as well as limiting interactions with the drivers, the likelihood of exposure from the driver is minimal. We encourage all individuals who are concerned about exposure to get tested at their earliest convenience. We continue to disinfect daily and enforce strong safety measures for the health of our passengers, drivers and staff.”

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