Metro announced Tuesday that it is taking new health and safety measures and reducing its bus service in the face of the growing omicron variant cases in its workforce.
Reduced service schedules and new workforce actions that come as part of the Metro Pandemic Taskforce’s efforts will come into force on Monday, January 10.
“Scaling back service will ensure customers who rely on Metrobus, Metrorail and MetroAccess for transportation have a more reliable schedule,” Metro CEO Paul Wiedefeld said in a release. “Metro employees live in some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic and are exposed to the surge in the region and throughout the nation. It’s important that the taskforce take steps to make Metro operationally sound to meet the needs of our customers.”
Weekday services of Metrobus will switch to a Saturday schedule. But there will be additional trips on some routes.
The new schedule accounts for approximately 75 percent of regular Metrobus service and covers key routes serving essential locations such as medical facilities and grocery stores.
Additionally, bus drivers will be able to bypass riders who are not wearing face coverings.
In the meantime, Metrorail will continue to work on all lines at its current levels.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) advises residents to opt for Metrorail instead of Metrobus when possible.
Unvaccinated Metro employees will continue to provide negative COVID-19 tests every week. And starting Sunday, January 16, workers who violate WMATA’s testing and vaccination requirements will be placed on unpaid suspension until they comply with the rules. They will be subject to termination of employment if they do not comply in 30 days.