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Detroit city buses to return to service after COVID-19 concerns resolved

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Detroit city buses return to service Wednesday.

Detroit city bus drivers refused to work and demanded changes because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Those issues have been resolved and the bus drivers will go back to work Wednesday. 

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Mayor Mike Duggan. (file photo)

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan worked with union leaders most of the day to resolve the issues.

More cleaning staff will be hired to disinfect buses at the end of each run instead of the once a day cleaning that is standard.

And, since passengers gather at the fare box next to the bus driver, the Mayor says fares are suspended.

“So, for the balance of the Coronavirus period DDOT bus rides will be free.”

Passengers will get on and off the bus using the rear door, reducing potential viral exposure to the driver.

The drivers also wanted to be able to enter restaurants to use their restrooms and wash their hands as has been the practice. Detroit Mayor Duggan said that became a problem when the governor ordered restaurants and bars closed to the public except to pick up orders.

“Our drivers use bathrooms and wash their hands at the end of their routes at many of these restaurants and they found themselves locked out.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to clarify her executive order, allowing civil servants such as the drivers, postal workers, police and others to use the facilities of restaurants that are open for 'to go' orders.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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