Miami-Dade County will be suspending some bus routes and adjusting others to compensate for a shortage of bus drivers amid the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant.
Starting Jan. 20, the Department of Transportation and Public Works will be temporarily suspending two routes, the 39 Express and the 103/C, and shortening the schedules of the 95 Golden Glades Express and 836 Dolphin Express, the county announced Friday night.
Last week, the Transportation Department told the Miami Herald about 114 bus drivers, or about 7% of the county’s roughly 1,600 operators were out due to COVID.
“Like employers across the county and nation, we are experiencing higher than usual employee absences due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “Our top priority is to protect the health and well-being of our employees and residents as we continue to offer all the tools we have to stop the spread and curb the recent surge.”
This is not the first bus driver shortage the county has seen this pandemic. At one time during the summer’s delta wave, about 63 bus operators were home due to COVID.
The county has recently seen hundreds of thousands of new cases, with Miami-Dade reporting 110,441 new weekly resident cases on Friday and surpassing 1 million cases for the first time, with a toll of 1,051,508.
“As we continue to assess the current situation, we are taking a proactive approach to minimize service impacts to our riders. The situation remains fluid, and we’re monitoring staffing levels daily,” Eulois Cleckley, director and CEO of the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works, said in a statement.
The alternative route for the 39 Express, which travels between the South Dade Government Center and Dadeland South Metrorail station, is the 31 Busway Local and 38 Busway MAX. The alternative route for the 103/C, which travels from Mount Sinai Medical Center to South Beach, is the 113/M.
Here are the times when the 95 Golden Glades Express and the 836 Dolphin Express will be suspended:
95 Golden Glades Express
▪ Downtown northbound trips departing at 4:27 p.m., 4:47 p.m., 4:49 p.m., and 5:02 p.m. are being suspended. All other trips will remain the same.
836 Dolphin Express
▪ Eastbound trips departing at 6:20 a.m., 7:40 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:20 p.m., 2:50 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:50 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. are being suspended. All other trips remain the same.
▪ Westbound trips departing at 6:53 a.m., 8:13 a.m., 9:33 a.m., 11:03 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:40 p.m. 4:20 p.m., 5:40 p.m., and 6:20 p.m. are being suspended. All other trips remain the same.
The Transportation Department will continue daily cleaning and disinfecting of Metrobus, Metrorail, and Metromover vehicles, bus terminals and stations. Masks remain a requirement for any transit rider, both inside of a Miami-Dade Transit vehicle and at transit bus stops and platforms.