NJ Transit head tests positive for COVID-19

Daniel J. Munoz//April 16, 2020

NJ Transit head tests positive for COVID-19

Daniel J. Munoz//April 16, 2020

The head of New Jersey Transit tested positive for COVID-19, the agency announced on Thursday morning.

It is not immediately clear when President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Corbett received the COVID-19 test or when he tested positive, but the agency’s statement indicates that he was last at NJ Transit’s offices on April 7.

“Kevin is feeling well and maintaining his regular work schedule while currently isolating at home,” the statement reads.

New Jersey Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett.

Matt Platkin, chief counsel at the governor’s office, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month— though he was not showing symptoms of the virus, which has been a broad requirement for getting a state or county-administered test.

“Even though he didn’t have symptoms, he felt it was the right thing to do. Now, why does he get a free pass to do that? Because literally every single executive order that I’ve written since I’ve been governor, and certainly in this period, have been written by Parimal [Garg], Matt and their colleagues,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at an April 9 press conference in Trenton.

NJ Transit has seen a nearly 90 percent drop in its ridership, as the global pandemic forces the closure of tens of thousands of businesses, and as the state enforces a ban on any public gatherings and non-essential travel.

Murphy issued an order over the weekend for NJ Transit and any private carriers to cut their capacity by 50 percent, and for commuters to wear face-coverings, lest they be denied entrance onto buses or trains.

The order also requires those transit providers to cover the costs of gloves and masks for all their workers.

NJ Transit already slashed much of its service in the prior weeks, as hundreds of thousands of commuters opt to stay at home to avoid coming in contact with the virus.

That led to packed buses and trains on the remaining routes – the opposite of social distancing, where individuals maintain a 6-foot distance from each other – and something with which the agency has been grappling.

“While we’ve been able to strategically target select trips on some bus routes with added service. Like transit agencies across the country, we simply don’t have the manpower to add more service,” Corbett told reporters at a telephone press conference last week.