5 MBTA workers test positive for coronavirus as concerns grow among riders

BOSTON (WHDH) - Five Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, leaving some riders concerned for their health.

Employees infected by the virus include three bus operators, a Southampton bus garage worker and an Orient Heights rail yard worker, according to an MBTA spokesperson.

The MBTA says they are informing people who had prolonged, direct contact with the infected workers but passengers say they’re also concerned about being exposed.

“I don’t feel safe at all,” one passenger said. “I have no choice (getting on the bus). I have to go to work.”

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak released a statement that reads, “We ask the public to keep our employees in their thoughts, and I continue to express my deep gratitude to the women and men of the MBTA workforce who are serving a vital purpose in combating COVID-19. To ensure we can protect the health and safety of our workforce, we strongly urge essential travel only, and we will continue our enhanced protocols for cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles, equipment, and surfaces.”

Some riders say they can’t afford another mode of transportation but that they’re doing what they can to stay safe.

“Keep the gloves on,” bus rider Angelo Ayuso urged. “If you cross somebody you think is in question, cover up.”

Boston Carmen’s Union, which represents MBTA employees, says it’s concerned by these recent developments.

“We’re concerned because members of the Boston Carmen’s Union who have been on duty have tested positive for COVID-19. As essential employees, our members report to work each day knowing they face this risk,” a statement from the union’s president read in part. “The Carmen’s Union has been working in coordination with the MBTA to ensure the health and safety or our members, but nothing is foolproof when interacting with the public every day.”

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