City bus drivers to get Covid tests and daily temperature screening

Coronavirus

City bus drivers will get tested for Covid-19 and have their temperature screened daily before each shift. It’s a new policy after a driver kept driving the bus even though he was already feeling ill.

Oahu Transit Services says thermal screening for their frontline workers will start on Thursday. And the following day, drivers will be able to get tested for Covid-19. Depending on how many of them test positive, more testing could be done.

“If we look like we’re good, we don’t have any infections, then we’ll probably do that every month. And if we start having any infections, then we’ll reassess. We may do it every two weeks. If we have a problem, we may do it every week,” said Roger Morton, OTS president.

A driver who didn’t want to be identified says the testing is a good first step. But more precautions are needed because more and more people are taking the bus.

“There’s always that fear right? There’s always that fear because we’re in such close contact with the public,” said the driver.

OTS says the infected driver kept working for the next five days even though he or she started to feel sick. It’s something drivers already know they should not be doing.

“My understanding is that this started as similar to an allergy type reaction. And that doesn’t excuse it at all, but we are gonna use it as a tremendous learning for all of us, that it can happen to anybody,” said Morton.

Drivers say current protective measures should be improved. They say curtain dividers don’t work because they get foggy.

“As of right now it’s not effective. It’s actually a hazard now because the curtain is not clear anymore,” said the driver.

Morton says the company plans to replace them with better plastic barriers, but won’t be able to install them until September.

“We got every bus company across the nation that are trying to buy barriers now,” he said.

Drivers say some of the buses are getting overcrowded, making them unsafe. OTS says it is tracking those routes and sending extra buses.

“So what we’re doing as a practice is when we have a very busy bus, we’re sending out one of those special duty buses at the same time as the busy bus,” said Morton.

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