Metro will reduce bus service starting next week as part of a series of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, amid a dramatic surge in cases in the D.C. area and a shortage of workers.
Starting next Monday, Jan. 10, Metrobus will reduce service on weekdays to a Saturday schedule, though some routes will have additional trips.
Metrorail will continue to operate as normal.
MetroAccess will reduce shared rides and increase accessibility rides.
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The agency said these actions are needed due to growing “absenteeism rates” among employees linked to COVID-19 illness and exposure.
“Scaling back service will ensure customers who rely on Metrobus, Metrorail and MetroAccess for transportation have a more reliable schedule,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.
“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," he said.
In addition, bus drivers will be allowed to bypass maskless riders, and customer service center operators will work remotely.
WMATA encouraged Metrobus customers to consider "alternative sources of transportation" to move across the region, such as Metrorail.
Unvaccinated employees are required to meet weekly testing requirements, the transit agency said. Those who don't adhere to the agency’s testing and vaccination policies will be placed on unpaid leave until they comply. They’ll have 30 days to do so or be subject to termination of employment, Metro said.
Employees will have to report their booster shot information by Jan. 31 as part of their fully vaccinated status.