Halifax Transit bus not deep cleaned after driver tests positive for COVID-19: union
Union calls on city to step up COVID-19 precautions, suspend fares
The head of the union representing Halifax Transit workers is criticizing how the city is handling COVID-19 exposures on bus routes after a confirmed case involving a driver.
The driver tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, but the bus she was driving continued to be on the road hours later, said Ken Wilson, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508.
"It went back out during rush hour without being deep cleaned," said Wilson. "It was apparently a mistaken number and they grabbed the wrong bus."
Wilson said he was concerned about three different buses, because the driver who tested positive was in close contact with two other operators.
Municipal officials told CBC News in an email they do not release specifics about any employee who tests positive. They added that Halifax Transit has increased the frequency of bus cleaning since the start of the pandemic.
Wilson said an improved cleaning protocol is not the only way to increase the safety of bus drivers and passengers.
He suggested having passengers use the back door farther away from the driver, suspending fares, reducing the load limit on buses by 50 per cent, and offering on-site rapid testing for transit workers.
The municipality said ridership remains low with the busiest daily trip reaching only 43 per cent capacity. They said Public Health is responsible for testing sites.
Transit officials are now installing signs on alternate seats to encourage physical distancing.