Four Capital Metro employees test positive for coronavirus, including three bus operators

Fifth Street in Austin sits empty March 25 after the city and county enacted stay-at-home orders to encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the community. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fifth Street in Austin sits empty March 25 after the city and county enacted stay-at-home orders to encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the community. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Fifth Street in Austin sits empty March 25 after the city and county enacted stay-at-home orders to encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the community. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Capital Metro announced April 2 that one bus mechanic and three bus operators have contracted the coronavirus. The four Capital Metro employees are the first from the public transit agency to test positive, and they are part of 305 total cases within Austin and Travis County as of April 1, according to data from Austin Public Health.

The first bus operator last worked on March 25, and the other two operators last worked on March 26, according to a release from Capital Metro.

The routes driven by employees to test positive are as follows:

  • Route 300: March 19, 23-25

  • Route 383: March 21

  • Route 937: March 23-26

  • Route 985: March 19

  • Route 383: March 22-23

  • Route 325: March 24-25

  • Route 335: March 26

“Anyone who has ridden the routes driven by these operators in the last 14 days should monitor themselves and contact their health care provider if they develop any symptoms,” Cap Metro said in a media release.

The other individual to test positive, a bus mechanic, works in the bus maintenance area and does not interact with the public. According to Capital Metro, that employee’s last day at work was March 16.

The buses driven by the employees have been removed from service for additional sanitation.

Cap Metro is asking riders to use its public transportation services only for essential services. Under the city and county’s stay-at-home orders, all public gatherings are prohibited, and all residents are encouraged not to leave their homes unless they are going out for critical services such as groceries or medication—or leaving for work the city and county have deemed essential.

"Our drivers are putting themselves at risk to continue this service when needed, and I think people need to respect that. At the same time we’re there for the public and recognize we connect people to essential services,” said Capital Metro Board Chair Wade Cooper.

Ridership is down about 60% across Capital Metro services, according to numbers from the transit agency, to about 40,000 trips per day from an average of about 100,000 at the beginning of the month.

Capital Metro began operating on a limited schedule in mid-March, and beginning April 1, the transit agency began offering free fares for all rides. Removing fares is not intended to increase ridership. Rather, it is intended to protect the safety of riders and operators by limiting contact. Other safety measures, such as increased cleaning and rear-door boarding, are also in place.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at


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