BOSTON (CBS) — The Commuter Rail is cutting service by more than half temporarily starting next week because there are too many employees out due to the coronavirus, operator Keolis and the MBTA announced Thursday.

The Commuter Rail typically operates 541 trains per day, but starting Monday that number will decrease to 246. The reduced schedule will run through Dec. 27 and potentially longer based on employee availability.

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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,” Keolis said in a statement.

The state has reported more than 40,000 new coronavirus cases in that time.

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The reduced service schedule can be found at MBTA.com and is posted at major stations. There are no changes to weekend service at this time.

Significant cuts have been proposed for the Commuter Rail and other forms of public transit as ridership is way down during the pandemic. Keolis said ridership has been about 13% of pre-pandemic levels and ridership during the holidays is historically low.

 

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