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Keolis to temporarily reduce commuter rail service, citing employee COVID-19 absences

A sign encouraging MBTA riders to wear masks, socially distance and practice good hygiene was displayed at the South Station commuter rail.
A sign encouraging MBTA riders to wear masks, socially distance and practice good hygiene was displayed at the South Station commuter rail.Erin Clark / Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Keolis Commuter Services, the company that operates the commuter rail, is temporarily reducing service by more than half due to low employee availability because of COVID-19 absences, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Keolis announced Thursday.

The reduced schedule, which will begin Monday and run through at least Dec. 27, will include 246 daily trains. Regular service includes 541 daily trains, Keolis said in a statement.

Keolis did not disclose how many employees were ill, but a person close to the decision said there are a number of train dispatchers out with COVID-19.

The MBTA and Keolis say they will track employee availability to see if the reduced service schedule will need to continue for longer.

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“The MBTA and Keolis, like other employers in Massachusetts, have experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past 10 days,” the statement said.

The reduced schedule includes daily service on all commuter rail lines and at all stations and only impacts weekday service.

Keolis encouraged passengers to check the new schedule at MBTA.com in advance to plan their trips.


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.