by Madeleine Graham
“When we learned the Ride to Wellness driver tested positive on Wednesday, March 25, we suspended operations Thursday, March 26,” Ed Benning, CEO of the Mass Transportaion Authority (MTA) stated in an update issued Friday on a COVID-19 “presumptive positive” driver situation first reported here.
Two additional drivers are awaiting results of the COVID-19 test, and as of 4 p.m. Friday, March 27 there still were no results, so thus far it remains unclear if they are positive, Benning stated. However, he said the two drivers were displaying symptoms.
The male driver who tested positive was working for Meals on Wheels as he was reassigned at that point from Ride to Wellness to the other partnership. Meals on Wheels’ assistant director stated she was not comfortable commenting about the matter to East Village Magazine, and the director was not available.
Regional routes suspended
In other MTA news, Benning stated regional routes are being suspended as of Monday, March 30. The routes MTA buses normally include five counties and 30 runs, The regional routes include Brighton, Great Lakes Crossing, Lapeer, Auburn Hills and Howell.
Hourly service for the city buses begins on Monday. The passengers are being asked once again to board through the rear door.
The passengers for Your Ride will continue to pay with a pass, or cash as drivers have a lot of interactions with passengers. Benning noted Your Ride transports a lot of kidney dialysis patients.
“This is a moving kind of a target,” Benning said. “We just totally shut-down. With those self quarantined, we have to see if anyone has an issue.”
However, he said, “We are committed to keep fixed routes running and the Your Ride,”
“If we have someone who it is clear they’re pretty sick, we won’t transport them on Your Ride.” .
With the buses, it is a little more difficult, he said, but added, “Keeping things running as smoothly as possible is clearly the goal of MTA with safety in mind for drivers and passengers.”
EVM Staff Writer Madeleine Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.