Bus drivers fear crowded Brampton Transit spreading COVID-19

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Published March 10, 2021 at 1:43 am

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Crowded buses of COVID-infected warehouse workers has forced a shutdown of a busy Brampton Transit route and sent a group of bus drivers into isolation.

The news broke this morning after the union representing the drivers complained about large outbreaks of COVID-19 at warehouses where employees often rely on Steeles Ave. buses to get to and from work.

While the Amazon fulfillment centre on Steeles near Winston Churchill Blvd. has been mentioned as one of the infected workplaces, Peel Public Health has stated it has not linked any warehouse to the current situation involving the bus drivers.

However, a Brampton Transit worker familiar with routes along Steeles, says the situation is precarious with far too many people using public transit throughout the day. It has drivers worried.

“Our buses are overcrowded at the best of times, but this route is the worst,” a transit worker told inbrampton.com. “People just crowd in all day long. Everybody wears masks but there is no social distancing. This isn’t the first problem we’ve had, but this is the worst. Precautions are taken but the buses are too crowded. Of course it (the virus) is going to spread when people are packed in. A lot of drivers don’t want to work some of these routes.”

At this point there are three confirmed cases of affected drivers this week and nine more during the past month. Several transit employees have been sent home to isolate as a precaution. More than 700 workers have been tested for COVID-19 but those results have not revealed. However, there has been enough of a concern to cancel the bus routes.

As is procedure, Peel Public Health has been vague about the specifics of the case and issued the following statement: “Due to an active Peel Public Health COVID-19 community investigation, there will be impacts to Brampton Transit’s service levels effective March 9, 2021. At this time, there is no broader risk to operators, public, or users of transit beyond the background risk that exists due to ongoing community transmission.”

Right now Brampton Transit bus routes 511, 11 and 51 have stopped running over concerns to the virus spreading. No timeline has been given on how long the buses will be out of commission, but some estimate it could last until next week.

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