MARTA stepping up employee and customer protection from COVID-19

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) announced today it is taking additional steps to further support and protect employees and customers as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into another month.

In a virtual press conference this past Friday, MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 732 President Britt Dunams and Officers announced the Authority is providing a one-time hero payment of $500 to frontline and represented employees, implementing 80 hours of additional paid sick leave for employees affected by COVID-19, and distributing masks to all employees unable to telework.

“MARTA and the ATU are united in our mission to continue providing essential transit service while protecting our employees and customers,” said Parker. “These employee measures, along with bus crowding mitigation efforts, and forthcoming bus service changes, will help ensure our system remains safe for those who rely on transit to get to work, the doctor, or the grocery store.”

MARTA has received a shipment of 250,000 disposable surgical masks which will be distributed regularly in increments of 5, along with 5 pairs of gloves and sanitizing wipes to all employees unable to work from home.

Last Thursday, MARTA announced it was providing an additional 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave for any employee in the following situations:

  • Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
  • Advised by MARTA to self-quarantine due to risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a result of close contact with a COVID-19 affected co-worker;
  • Advised by a health care professional to self-quarantine due to underlying personal health conditions or other personal reasons;
  • Caring for an individual who is required to quarantine;
  • Caring for the employee’s dependent child if the child’s school or place of care is closed.

When the emergency paid leave is exhausted, employees may use accrued paid sick and/or vacation time as needed. Any MARTA employee who has a confirmed and medically documented diagnosis of COVID-19 will be paid for the full length of their recovery period until they are medically cleared to return to work. 

Additionally, MARTA is adjusting two facets of bus service to address the issue of crowding experienced since implementation of rear door boarding. We have established a dedicated hotline for customers to report a full bus and request another be sent to their stop. If your bus is too full to board, call 404-848-5000, select option 1 for English and 2 for Spanish, then select option 1 again, so we can take immediate action.

Beginning this weekend, MARTA will place the attached poster on buses and affix ‘Do Not Sit’ signs onto certain seats to allow for more space between sitting customers. Standing in the aisle of the bus will not be allowed.

A MARTA press release.

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