COVID-19; Metro News Now, March 16

Click above to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website on what you can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Obviously there is one and only news item to discuss today as the local, state and national response to the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve.

As of now, Metro is running its regular weekday service. Two other points:

•Metro is unaware of any employees with the COVID-19 virus and we are working hard to provide the safest working conditions possible. We have increased cleaning regimes at facilities and on buses and trains, formed an internal task force and are meeting with union leaders and encouraging everyone to follow best hygiene standards. Our workforce is our lifeblood and we will do everything to protect them.

•Metro is also working with employees who need to stay at home to care for family and we’re adjusting work rules to accommodate our workers as best we can.

If you have questions, please ask them in the comments and we’ll try to get answer.

Some tweets worth noting:

My three cents: we are a mobility safety net for many people in Los Angeles County. That includes many who work in hospitals, nursing homes, groceries and other places that are too important to fail right now. Please keep that in mind. 

From some of our colleagues in the transit industry:

Some of the latest stories that we’re following:

This online map by John Hopkins is tracking COVID-19 cases across globe.

•Six Bay Area counties are being ordered to shelter in place, reports the LAT.

•Canada is closing its borders to most people, reports the Toronto Star. Travel in France and between other countries will be largely curtailed beginning Tuesday, reports Le Monde.

•Transit ridership is down across the U.S., reports The Verge. Well, yes, and this isn’t exactly the time to be worrying about ridership. Metro’s ridership numbers are usually reported monthly and I don’t have the latest. But the tweets above are accurate.

The LAT also reports that traffic in L.A. area is down and I’ve yet to meet anyone today who actually encountered what we usually call “traffic.” Here’s what things looked like at 12:39 p.m. this afternoon — a heck of a lot more green than usual:

The Cincinnati Enquirer offers a good explainer of virus math — and why Ohio officials want people to stay home to prevent the virus from spreading more than it has. Watch the video.

The NYT asks a hard question: is government overreacting? The answer: we may never know. My three cents again: given what we’re seeing elsewhere in the world, better safe than sorry.

Things to listen to whilst or whilst not transiting: be safe folks and in the spirit of distraction-is-good, here’s a great podcast from Reply All. The premise: a man remembers a song from the ’90s that he heard on the radio while growing up in Arizona. His wife doesn’t remember the song and the man can’t find any info the song actually exists on the Internet.

The Reply All crew tackles the case and tries to confirm the song does or does not exist.

Things to watch whilst or whilst not transiting:


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3 replies

  1. During the West Hollywood City Council meeting last night the issue of homelessness in connection to the virus was discussed. A question was posed if they could be detained under the state law concerning 51-50, mentally unable to care for themselves and a danger to society. Taking that into consideration will the MTA look into legally banning them from public transit.

    It is noted in this article that Santa Monica Transit, BBB, is reducing service and cancelling some lines altogether. This is not the time to seek ways to cut cost and with it create more crowded buses. What is the MTA doing about this?

    Lastly, is the MTA requiring all Bus Operators close their security screen while in service and are buses without them being retrofitted for both this crisis and the physical safety of operators when this crisis is over?