VIDEO: Smyth addresses public transportation operations after death of bus driver

City of Santa Clarita buses on line at the TMF on Constellation Road. Gilbert Bernal / The Signal
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Buses across Santa Clarita are undergoing an aggressive regular cleaning protocol and public transportation will continue to operate, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth announced Thursday after the city learned that one city bus driver died after testing positive with COVID-19. 

“This is a very sobering loss and a tragic, tragic event, because it reminds you these first-line employees, whether it be bus drivers, grocery workers, others who are just doing their job every day and still are putting themselves at risk,” said the mayor. 

The commuter bus driver conducted trips to North Hollywood and Warner Center for MV Transportation — the independent contractor for the city’s transit services — and last worked Friday and died Tuesday after falling ill Saturday. 

Santa Clarita Transit buses enhance deep-cleaning amid COVID-19 outbreak. Courtesy of the city of Santa Clarita

Two other drivers had also contracted the virus and were placed in quarantine, according to an email by MV Transportation to Santa Clarita Transit employees. 

Smyth announced that all drivers who came in contact with the three drivers have been removed from their routes and are practicing self-isolation. All remaining city drivers are equipped with personal protective equipment, “whether it be gloves or masks and MV transportation is proceeding with additional cleaning and aggressive cleaning protocols within our city buses,” he said. 

Since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak within the Santa Clarita Valley, some have raised questions about why the city has allowed public transportation to continue its operations. 

Santa Clarita Transit buses enhance deep-cleaning amid COVID-19 outbreak. Courtesy of the city of Santa Clarita

Smyth said, “Public transportation is still a key part of essential employees getting to and from their work. It’s also critical for residents who are using our transportation locally to be able to access their services, whether it be medical appointments or grocery shopping, and so it’s important that we maintain a level of service in our public transportation.”

MV Transportation reiterated in its email that it has “implemented enhanced cleaning protocols to include daily cleaning of vehicles with an extra-strength, hospital-grade disinfectant that has been proven to be effective against COVID-19.”

For all local coronavirus-related stories, visit: signalscv.com/2020/03/covid-19-coverage-summary.

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