Detroit becomes the first city to stop bus services amid coronavirus outbreak as drivers refuse to turn up for work
- Detroit city bus drivers refused to work Tuesday over COVID-19 fears, causing total service shutdown
- Some 85,000 riders rely on bus service in Detroit daily
- Bus drivers were concerned about riders clustering around fare boxes, vehicle cleanliness and bathroom breaks
- Detroit mayor was meeting with union leaders to address drivers’ concerns
- Plan is in the works to disinfect entire bus fleet and provide protective gear to drivers
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Detroit’s city buses ground to a halt on Tuesday after drivers refused to show up for work over safety concerns sparked by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Detroit Department of Transportation reported early this morning that fewer than 10 per cent of city buses were operating because of a driver shortage.
A tweet from the City of Detroit urged passengers to seek other modes of transportation ‘while we work to address our drivers concerns.’
A short time later, a follow-up tweet was sent announcing that there will be no buses today and apologizing for the inconvenience.
Detroit city bus drivers refused to work on Tuesday over COVID-19 concerns, causing a total service shutdown
DDOT drivers told Fox 2 Detroit they have been taking sick leave because they say city leaders have not been addressing their concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 5,983 confirmed cases of the virus, 58 of them in Michigan, and 100 deaths nationwide.
The shutdown is believed to be the first instance where a city service was scrapped because of employee action sparked by the pandemic, reported The Detroit Free Press reported.
According to its website, DDOT is the largest public transit provider in Michigan that serves the City of Detroit and surrounding suburbs and cities.
Some 85,000 riders rely on the bus system every day to get around. At peak hours, around 170 buses criss-cross Detroit and neighboring cities on their routes.
Amadou Sanders checks his phone for options after Detroit canceled bus service on Tuesday
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 5,983 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 100 deaths
Officials told The Detroit News they have met with local bus drivers to listen to their concerns, including riders clustering around fare boxes, vehicle cleanliness and access to restrooms during bathroom breaks.
A plan is said to be in the works to disinfect the entire fleet of buses and provide more protective equipment for drivers.
Glenn Tolbert, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, told the paper buses could be back on routes as early as Wednesday morning.
‘The drivers didn’t feel safe going on the bus, spreading their germs and getting germs from anybody,’ Tolbert said. ‘We are on the front lines and picking up more sick people than doctors see. This was a last resort but drivers didn’t feel safe.’