By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
According to the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), a Baltimore MTA bus driver has tested positive for the COVID-19. In response, the MTA has closed the Eastern Bus Division on Oldham Street, which affects the following bus routes: CityLink Navy, Orange, Blue, Pink, Lime and Gold; LocalLink 21, 22, 28, 36, 56, 59, 62, 63 and 65; Express BusLink 105, 120 and 160. The Eastern Division will undergo a deep cleaning and disinfecting.
According to the MTA, the driver last reported to work on March 19. Michael McMillan, president of Baltimore Local 1300, the union that represents city bus drivers, said the MTA is instructing drivers from the Eastern Division that they can seek other routes or stay home and still get paid. The driver who has contracted the coronavirus has not been identified.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said bus drivers, like other city employees who interact with the public must be protected.
“Our bus operators take a huge risk every time they show up to work. As a city, we must do everything in our power to keep these workers safe,” said Scott in a statement. “It is imperative that all operators be provided with the necessary protective equipment as soon as possible. It is unacceptable that they don’t have what they need now. It is also imperative that MTA officials quickly identify all others that may have been in direct contact with the operator to ensure they get the medical attention needed,” added Scott. The council president charged residents to be responsible in the midst of the health crisis. “As a citizen, that means staying home unless absolutely necessary, so they are not put at more risk,” he said.
“This is not a game. People need to ignore President Trump and follow the advice of public health professionals who are telling us to stay at home and practice social distancing.”