Lynchburg transit workers protest working conditions, citing pandemic concerns

Coronavirus

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Thomas Sherman waited more than two hours for a bus.

“That really affects everybody that has jobs, because you can’t get to work if you don’t have the bus service.”

Greater Lynchburg Transit Company suspended its service for part of the day because of a driver shortage. A union representative said at least three drivers tested positive for coronavirus.

“We also have approximately 14 out on quarantine, so that’s taken a big chunk of their staff away from them,” said Clifford Headrick, an Executive Board Member of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1493.

On Wednesday, he led a protest over what he called unsafe conditions for drivers.

“The driver’s area and most of the buses have an inch to two inches of filth on the dash, the floorboard, around the driver’s area,” he said, providing photos of what he says are GLTC buses, taken on Tuesday. “So that’s telling us that you’re not cleaning these buses, and they are not being sanitized properly.”

WFXR News asked the GLTC’s General Manager for an interview to address these concerns. He declined an on-camera interview but released the following statement:

GLTC is committed to the safety of our staff, passengers, and community. At the start of this pandemic, GLTC took swift action putting safeguards in place.

GLTC instituted rear door entry and fare elimination to support social distancing. In addition, passenger capacity has been limited and cloth masks are available at the Transfer Station for passengers who do not have access to a mask. PPE is provided to all drivers and staff, including gloves, face coverings, face shields, and hand sanitizer. Daily vehicle sanitization is conducted with focus on high contact surfaces. As we continue to monitor the situation, we will follow the direction of the CDC and partner with local/state health authorities as we do in all matters of public health.

The group of protesters also argued for hazard pay.

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