VIDEO: Life of a MiWay Transit driver during the COVID-19 pandemic


If we’re talking about people who have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, transit drivers are definitely up there — after all, they’re considered essential workers and have to keep their vehicles moving every day, even if things are a lot more different right now than they were just a month ago.

Speaking from the garage at Central Parkway Station on Friday morning (before the buses began their routes), MiWay Transit driver Earle Warner talked a bit about his daily routine and how its changed due to the ongoing pandemic.

One of the biggest changes is constant sanitization — Warner has to wipe down and sanitize everything he touches throughout the day. That includes the steering wheel, fare box, Presto card reader, his radio phone, and the dashboard.

Another change is one you likely noticed yourself if you’ve taken a MiWay bus during the pandemic: A plastic chain about six feet behind the driver’s compartment, which is meant to keep the driver a safe distance away from the passengers.

I don’t wear a mask,” Warner said. “Don’t need to. They’re far enough away that I’m safe from them.”

That plastic chain isn’t the only thing passengers have to watch out for, however. In an effort to make sure all passengers are sitting a safe distance away from each other, many of the bus seats have been cordoned off with yellow caution tape. Additionally, some of the priority seats at the front of the bus are raised to discourage use.

Nothing to stop [passengers] from putting them down, but hopefully they won’t,” Warner said.

In the event that the bus’ limited capacity has been reached and more passengers are trying to get on, Warner says all the driver can do is ask them not to board.

If a passenger tries to board anyway, the driver has to stop the bus and call for assistance.

The full video can be watched below:

MiWay began reducing its service hours and providing free transit to residents on March 21, as well as requiring passengers to board from the rear (unless they have accessibility needs that require they board from the front).

Changes to various MiWay routes were also put into effect and are still in effect until further notice.

According to the city, MiWay transit operators are permitted to wear personally-supplied face masks but, as evidenced by Warner’s decision not to, this is a personal choice and not required.

Photo and video courtesy of Earle Warner on Facebook

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