by Madeleine Graham
City fixed-route bus service in Flint has been suspended as of today, April 2, extending to May 4, according to Ed Benning, CEO of the Mass Transportation Authority (MTA).
In addition, in light of recent developments with two more drivers testing positive for COVID-19, suspension of Ride to Wellness service in Flint has been extended to May 4, Benning said.
The only MTA service remaining is Your Ride, which frequently services kidney dialysis patients or others with disabilities.
The initial driver to test positive (making three drivers altogether) led to Ride to Wellness being suspended for two weeks; however, with the two additional drivers testing positive, the decision was made to extend the date, explained Benning.
All three drivers went to the hospital and are now recovered. The first driver was working another detail, Meals on Wheels, Benning said.
Not knowing where the other two drivers contracted COVID-19, but knowing they were working Ride to Wellness, alerting passengers would be difficult. “We have no indications of passengers having COVID-19,” Benning said.
As for fixed routes, or city buses, because so many community members have tested positive for COVID-19, Benning said he felt it was in the best interest of safety to suspend fixed routes, effective April 2, through May 4.
Your Ride will continue to operate as an essential service, Benning reiterated, in consideration of passengers who rely on that transportation for kidney dialysis and other disabilities.
Benning reported that to date, no other drivers have tested positive. The current situation has resulted in about 300 lay-offs. He said about 60 staff and drivers remain in quarantine, but that is ending soon.
“We pride ourselves on promoting great service in the community, These decisions are very difficult,” but in the interest of the community must be made,” Benning said.
EVM staff writer Madeleine Graham can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.