Another VIA operator test positive for COVID-19, bringing total to 7, company officials say

One of the operators that tested positive is hospitalized, according to VIA

VIA bus
VIA bus (VIA Metropolitan Transit)

SAN ANTONIO4/29/20 Update:

Another VIA bus operator has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to seven operators and one administrative employee, VIA officials said Tuesday.

According to VIA, Friday, April 24 was the last day the operator reported for duty, after which the operator started experiencing mild symptoms.

The routes the operator traveled are listed below, courtesy of the VIA website.

A list of routes they operated in the period prior to April 25. (KSAT)

VIA officials said the buses the operator used have been sanitized daily and cleaned.


4/20/20 Update:

Two more VIA operators have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to VIA officials. This brings the total number to four operators.

As of Monday, one administrative employee and one operator have fully recovered and returned to work, the company said.

Two operators are recovering at home and the fourth operator is being treated in an local hospital, according to officials.

One of the operators last worked Thursday, April 16. They called out sick Friday, April 17 and sought medical attention, according to VIA. They are being treated an an area hospital. The positive test was reported to the company on Monday, April 20.

VIA officials said the buses the operator used have been sanitized daily and cleaned.

The routes the operator traveled are listed below, courtesy of the VIA website.

Here are the bus routes one VIA operator that tested positive for COVID-19, traveled. (VIA website)

We’ll bring more updates as they become available.

4/18/20 Update:

A second VIA operator has tested positive for COVID-19, according to VIA officials.

VIA reported the new COVID-19 case in a statement on its website, posted Thursday, April 16.

The operator is quarantining at home and is in communication with the company on their recovery process.

VIA says the operator last reported to work on Monday, April 6. The employee called out sick Thursday, April 9, and consulted with their family doctor, according to VIA officials.

It’s currently unknown how the operator contracted the virus.

According to the VIA company website, a list of the driver’s routes is listed below:

Monday, April 6:

8/67 N. St. Mary’s/ Laredo. Bus 478 at 1:20 PM – 4:20 PM.

Sunday, April 5:

503 Huebner Crosstown. Bus 607 at 3:15 PM – 12:15 AM.

Saturday, April 4:

502 – 602 Thousand Oaks/North Star-Medical Center. Bus 462 at 1:25 PM – 10:30 PM.

Friday, April 3:

3/76 San Pedro Skip/W Commerce Skip. Bus 727 at 5:30 PM – 1:20 AM.

Thursday, April 2: Off

Wednesday, April 1:

3-76 San Pedro Skip/W Commerce Skip. Bus 642 at 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Tuesday, March 31: Off

Monday, March 30:

505-509 Basse/Hildebrand. Bus 627 at 1:00 PM – 5:20 PM.

Sunday, March 29:

503 Huebner Crosstown. Bus 663 at 3:15 PM – 12:15 AM.

Saturday, March 28:

502 – 602 Thousand Oaks/North Star-Medical Center. Bus 461 at 1:25 PM – 10:30 PM.

Friday, March 27:

3-76 San Pedro Skip/W Commerce Skip. Bus 728 at 5:30 PM – 1:20 AM.


VIA officials notified employees Monday that a bus driver has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The bus operator last reported for work on March 31, according to the letter from VIA President and CEO Jeff Arndt. They called out sick the following day and consulted with a family doctor, following the company’s protocol.

In response to the news, VIA announced it is setting a “safe capacity” limit of 16 riders at a time, less than half of the bus’ capacity.

Once a bus reaches 16 passengers, operators will display a message in the bus destination sign that reads “At Safe Capacity.” This will let customers know that the bus is at its maximum load for that trip and they should board the next bus, according to a news release from the organization.

VIA Metropolitan Transit employee tests positive for COVID-19, company official says

The operator was advised to self-quarantine by their doctor, and the buses used by the driver have been cleaned and disinfected.

Arndt shared the list of routes operated by the driver prior to April 1:

  • March 20, Route 522, Bus 428
  • March 21, Route 42, Bus 435
  • March 22, Route 66, Bus 422
  • March 23, Route 9, Bus 526
  • March 24, Route 82, Bus 334
  • March 25, Routes 64 and 3, Buses 629 and 731
  • March 28, No route service, Bus 970
  • March 29, Spacer routes 5, 14, 22, 36, 102 and 503, Buses 453, 330, 426, 673, 615, 674, 581, 676, 576, 67 and 331
  • March 30, Route 32, Bus 541
  • March 31, Primo Route 100, Bus 968

Arndt told employees that anyone who thinks they have been in close contact with the employee should monitor themselves for symptoms for the next week.

VIA officials have taken precautions against the spread while continuing to provide transportation to the public. Those measures include giving gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes for bus drivers.

The bus driver is the second VIA employee to test positive for the virus. The first employee worked exclusively in VIA’s Joint Law Enforcement Center security office and had little-to-no contact with the public or other employees.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.


About the Authors:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.