Coronavirus, new buses, scooters: Metro News Now, March 5

It goes without saying that coronavirus is and will continue to be the big story in our region and across the world in the coming days.

Metro has been fielding press inquiries and our messaging is this: we’re continuing the daily (sometimes more) cleaning regimen on buses, trains and facilities.

We also are asking the public to do their part by following good health practices. I was in a meeting today with Metro officials and a representative of the L.A. County Department of Public Health and he stressed the best defense is good public hygiene — especially washing your hands frequently and properly. Please see this Source post for more info.


From the Dept. of Self-Inflicted Leg Cramps: 


Dept. of New Buses!:

Metro took delivery last week of the last of the 295 40-foot buses ordered from the firm El Dorado. Metro executed an option to purchase an additional 259 of these compressed natural gas-powered buses last September as a bridge step while we strive to convert the fleet to zero emission buses in the future.

The new fleet of El Dorado buses allow Metro to retire some buses that 12 or more years old. They will significantly improve the reliability of the overall fleet performance and include enhanced features for the benefit of our operators. Here’s a Source post from 2018 about the buses.


Things to read whilst transiting: The NYT Magazine takes a deep look at the Wall Street investors who started buying homes across the U.S. in the wake of the Great Recession — and how that has impacted those who rent the homes and those squeezed out of the housing market by Wall Street driving up prices. A big chunk of the story involves our region.

Things to read whilst transiting 2: At a time of runaway costs of college, The Atlantic looks at Indiana’s Purdue University that has been able to hold the line on tuition — with in-state students spending $10,000 a year.


•Smart lede in the Whittier Daily News on the Eastside Gold Line Extension project:

Thirteen years ago, Metro was considering 47 end points for where the Gold Line extension from East Los Angeles should end. On Thursday, that number was reduced to one.

On a 13-0 vote, the Metro board directed its employees to continue studying just one option for the light rail, the one that would travel Atlantic and Washington boulevards and end at PIH Health in Whittier.

However, to mollify San Gabriel Valley-area officials who were supporting a line along the 60 Freeway to South El Monte, the board also voted to direct employees to prepare a feasibility study looking at other options to meet the needs of Valley residents.

Forty seven! That’s almost enough for an NCAA-style bracket 🙂

•Here’s a good primer at CurbedLA on the Regional Connector and how it will make light rail trips on the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L (Gold) Lines to and through DTLA a lot easier and quicker. Construction-minded readers may be interested in this recent Source post on the challenges of building this very unique project.

•Nice job of reporting at CurbedLA on the drop in the number of scooters on area streets — in December there was about half the number that there was in 2018. Scooter companies say it’s mostly seasonal although enforcement of rules by cities also seems a factor.

Scary crash involving a motorist who drove through crossing gates on the A Line (Blue) at 55th Street and was struck by a train. The 60-year-old man, according to the LAPD, suffered some cuts and bruises. Good reminder to everyone to be mindful of motorists who may, or may not, be following the rules of the road and, of course, pay attention to your surroundings when around trains.

•Understanding planner-speak is oft an exercise in head-meet-wall, but here’s a good post from the L.A. Planning Department (the city agency) on how they’ve boosted production of affordable housing under their transit-oriented communities program. As they write, there’s still much work to be done but it’s good to see they’re getting some results. Streetsblog LA also offers a good explainer on the topic.



8 replies

  1. I’m confused. The A Line still has short trains during rush hour during the the Coronavirus outbreak? The trains are packed before it gets to the Compton station (northbound in the a.m.) and it just keeps getting worse til Pico. No such thing as personal space (much less space) when you’re packed in shoulder-to-shoulder each day during rush hour.

  2. Right, so I assume that is a yes on metro having a definite plan to upgrade all remaining crossings to quad gates at some point?

  3. Is metro ever going to purchase any Gillig or Proterra buses??? Perhaps more 30ft.or 35ft. Shuttle size buses?

  4. Looks like the crossing where the crash happened doesn’t have quad gates, which may have made a difference here. When is metro going to get around to upgrading all crossings on the blue A line? It certainly is in the plans right? And why wasn’t this done during the long closure period?

    • Hi Con;

      Metro’s standard these days is to install four-quad gates. But the A Line (Blue), as you likely know, is our oldest line and not all the crossings have been upgraded to four quads. Over the last few years, the biggest challenge on the A Line has been pedestrian safety and that has been the focus of safety upgrades with the recent installation of pedestrian gates and swing gates.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Wait, so what was the entire point of the Blue Line closure last year then? The fact that this still isn’t even standard on the Blue Line is yet another reason why no one takes our transit system serious in this country.

        No excuses, this should have already been done even before the Blue Line’s 10th year operation. 30 years and still no quad gates at all crossing intersections? Tsk tsk

  5. How utterly hypocritical and callously, dangerously derelict, that METRO speaks of public, disease-preventative hygiene, when to save money and cater to its paranoia about being sued, it allows filthy, threatening, assaultive, disease and pest-laden homeless in vehicles, WITHOUT FARES, WHO HAVE NO CONCEPTION OF, OR WILLINGNESS TO FOLLOW, RESPECTFUL, SANITARY CONDUCT. Endangering passenger safety is the METRO, to a tee. Inadequate policing of trains, and refusal of security to enforce regulations.

    • True! That’s why I have cut back on my metro trips from days per week to one.