MARTA cancels train trips amid COVID-related staffing shortage

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

MARTA is canceling some train trips as COVID-19 continues to take a toll on staffing.

“Select train trips may be canceled because staffing shortages due to COVID-19,” the agency told customers on social media late Monday. “Customers are advised to allow extra time to complete their trips.”

MARTA later announced the cancellation of several Monday night trips on its north-south and east-west lines. It canceled more on Tuesday.

MARTA spokesperson Stephany Fisher said 13 rail operators are out sick because of COVID, but another 25 positions are vacant. Fisher said MARTA has canceled 13 trips over the last week, though some of those were canceled because of mechanical problems or other reasons. Another eight trips were delayed.

Staffing shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic have already forced MARTA to reduce the frequency of service on 96 of its 113 bus routes. Through Monday, 1,203 MARTA employees have tested positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Transit is just one public service that has been disrupted during the pandemic. Amid the latest surge, several school districts have announced they’re switching to online-only classes to begin the new year. Staffing shortages and bad weather have also led airlines to cancel flights.

More disruptions may be coming. Georgia has seen record-high COVID-19 caseloads in recent days, and the state Department of Public Health didn’t publish new case and death data Monday, citing the “overwhelming” volume of data.