CT Transit

CTtransit Warns Some New Haven Routes Will Not Operate Today

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CTtransit is warning customers that some routes in the New Haven area will not happen on Tuesday.

Cole Pouliot, CTtransit’s general manager, said there are a little higher than the normal amount of people who called out sick Tuesday, but nowhere near the number of sick calls Monday.

“We do anticipate we will need to cut some trips. We are not expecting anything like yesterday’s service interruption and encourage our riders to check our alerts for changes,” Pouliot said in a statement.

On Monday, CTtransit management said, approximately 50 bus operators called out sick, which was about a quarter of the drivers who work in the New Haven division, which is headquartered at a facility on State Street in Hamden.

That led to cancellations and delays in the New Haven area- and much frustration among riders.

Ralph Buccitti, with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 281, which represents bus employees in the New Haven region, said Monday’s staffing shortages were related to health concerns related to the coronavirus.

“It’s all related to COVID-19,” Buccitti said. “They’re afraid to come to work.”

NBC Connecticut Investigates was first to report last month that about 40 employees with ties to the Hamden facility had either tested positive for COVID-19 or they had been quarantined.

Many of the drivers felt that they would be safer if they did not go to work on Monday, according to Buccitti, who said he has been advocating for additional COVID-19 safety measures and had hoped transit workers would be prioritized in the state’s rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

Buccitti said the union was not behind Monday’s wave of sick calls.

“It’s people who are feeling not well enough to come to work,” said Buccitti.

Pouliot previously told NBC Connecticut Investigates that he is confident in the safety practices in place, such as contact tracing, the use of KN95 masks, increased deep cleaning and the closing off of “gathering points” at the building in question.

“People depend on us. They’ve depended on all year long to get essential workers to their jobs, everything we needed to do to keep us all moving. So, we apologize for the inconvenience and we’re doing everything that we can to get full service back up as soon as possible," Pouliot said of the issue caused by the callouts.

CTtransit is in communication with the Quinnipiack Valley Health District about COVID-19 protocols, Pouliot said.

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