MILWAUKEE – County Supervisor Felesia A. Martin praised the decision by Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) to continue requiring masks on county buses. Supervisor Martin also acknowledged the difficult, yet critical job MCTS bus drivers do every day, even in the face of COVID-19.
“With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee County, our public employees who do the necessary work day-to-day to keep this county running are at greater risk of being exposed to the virus. We must do all we can to ensure the safety of our MCTS bus drivers, including protecting them from COVID-19 and from violent or unruly passengers,” said Supervisor Martin. “I will not stand by and allow our bus drivers to be forced into a situation where their health or lives are at risk because of county policy. Thank you, MCTS, for caring for your front-line employees!”
Like riders, bus drivers are at an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 while on public transit. Unlike riders, bus drivers do not have the option to not come aboard the bus. Drivers may have health conditions which make them more at-risk of severe illness or death due to COVID-19. Additionally, as drivers attempt to enforce MCTS masking guidance or ensure fares are collected, their due diligence has been met with verbal abuse, aggression, and physical attacks.
“I am thankful that most of our residents recognize the value and hard work of our bus drivers. I implore all riders to continue to be patient, kind, and respectful to MCTS drivers and follow all MCTS COVID-19 guidelines, for your health and the health of our drivers,” said Supervisor Martin.
Over the last three weeks, Milwaukee County has seen a precipitous increase in COVID-19 cases, in part due to the transmissibility of a new variant. Milwaukee County’s vaccination rate sits at 62% countywide but is much lower for certain populations. Only 42% of Milwaukee’s Black residents are fully vaccinated, leaving many in the community vulnerable to highly transmissible variants.
Those seeking information on how to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster can go to www.healthymke.com.