Two Big Blue Bus operators tested positive for coronavirus Sunday, BBB officials announced Tuesday.
Both operators last worked Friday, March 20 and are now in quarantine, said Ed King, the city of Santa Monica’s director of transit services. Colleagues who were in close contact with the operators have been notified and are self-isolating. Buses operated by both drivers were disinfected and cleaned before the vehicles were reassigned the next day.
No other city of Santa Monica employees, including police officers and firefighters, have tested positive, said city spokesperson Constance Farrell.
King said any BBB customers who rode Rapid 12 (Westwood Boulevard), Route 7 (Pico Boulevard) or Route 8 (Ocean Park-UCLA Westwood) on Friday, March 20 should monitor themselves for possible symptoms, contact their health care provider if they develop any symptoms, and self-isolate to avoid exposing others, including refraining from using public transportation.
On Friday, March 20, the bus agency suspended fares so customers can board through rear doors and maintain their distance from operators, who now carry gloves and hand sanitizer. All parts of buses, including rails, straps, doors, seats and chime cords, are sanitized daily.
In a statement issued Tuesday, King alluded to the fact that BBB and transportation agencies across the globe had lost ridership during the pandemic and said the agency will continue to provide transportation for riders who rely on it.
“We know our bus system is an essential service that people rely on and we are closely monitoring routes to continue to meet those needs,” King said.
As of Monday, forty-seven Santa Monica residents have tested positive for coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases in Santa Monica has nearly quadrupled from 12 to 41 over the last seven days, with 19 cases confirmed between Saturday and Monday.
The number of cases in L.A. County ballooned over the same period from 536 to 2,474. Forty-four county residents have died after contracting the virus.