Coronavirus concern: Total shutdown of Muni service might be best way to curb COVID-19 spread, Union President says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Union President representing Muni bus drivers in San Francisco says a total shutdown of the system might be the safest way to go.

Roger Marenco is the president of San Francisco's Transit Workers Union of America. He represents 2,300 drivers and is concerned about the safety of passengers and those drivers.

"I always tell everybody that the Muni buses, we are the bloodline that gives life to this city, but at this moment we have turned into the syringe that could potentially be infecting the city and county of San Francisco by transporting this virus," Marenco said. "We need to stop the spread of this virus and maybe shutting the system down for a couple of weeks would be the way to go."

RELATED: SFMTA to suspend Muni service on most lines due to COVID-19

A number of riders have reached out to us at ABC7 News in recent days saying the social distancing is only getting worse.

"I don't even feel safe taking Muni at this point," says Jim Walls who stopped taking city buses last week due to fears of the COVID-19.

Some riders say that drivers are demanding more than just 6 feet of distance and that it is pushing people closer together in the back of the bus.

RELATED: Muni suspending some service due to COVID-19 crisis

Marenco isn't aware of any routes where drivers have demanded 15 feet but addressed the concern.

"Operators are saying look besides the 6 feet, I want more space because you are going to violate that to begin with. That's why we started putting down the big 'x' to symbolize don't stand there."

Marenco believes more needs to be done, whether that involves more enforcement to limit riders, mask requirements, or a total shutdown.

We did reach out to those with Muni but our calls and emails were not returned.

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