Metro update on COVID-19, FAQ

Were fielding many questions from riders and hope the following FAQ answers most of your inquiries.   

Will you shut down service? 

No, at this time there are no plans to cease operations. Metro is 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. Metro has adjusted service levels to meet demand on the street, find more information on that at metro.net/covid19.

Is it safe to ride buses and trains?  

Metro has strengthened its cleaning regimes of buses, trains and facilities and continues to work with the L.A. County Department of Public Health. We have implemented rear-door boarding on all buses. Front door boarding remains available to those who require the boarding ramp.

Please remember that the single best way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on transit or anywhere is to follow best public health hygiene practices: 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Hand washing tips from the CDC are here.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue.
  • Wear a face covering if you are in a public space and cannot maintain 6ft physical distance.
  • Make sure you are using a robust, regular cleaning schedule for frequently touched surfaces such as cell phones and computers.

Metro at this time is unaware of anyone who has contracted COVID-19 via our system.

If I have a monthly pass, will I be refunded because I have to stay home and cannot ride? Will I be able to apply the pass to next month? 

At this time, pass holders should hang on to their passes until their daily commutes are back to normal. Once they start riding again, affected customers can call 866-TAPTOGO and we will add the additional days to their TAP cards. If you have additional questions or concerns, email CustomerService@taptogo.net. 

I have a Metro parking pass but cannot meet the required 10 days of transit travel due to work from home/school cancellation. Will I be refunded? Can I apply the pass to the next month?  

Ridership requirements for parking passes have been waived for the months of March and April. 

 What are you doing for bus operators? I dont see them wearing gloves or masks. 

Metro has relied on the most complete, accurate information provided by our public health care partners in all respects, including the use of personal protective equipment. Neither the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) nor the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) currently recommend any additional PPE above and beyond what may be required to safely perform assigned job tasks.  

According to CDC and LACDPH, the masks are to protect persons in high risk occupations, such as health care workers and emergency responders. Should the direction from our health care partners change, we will make masks available based on supply levels. Gloves are available for custodial staff at each location. Additional gloves are being procured to ensure we have the levels needed if/when direction is provided.   

Metro has always provided OSHA-required PPE to all employees. The safety of our employees and passengers is paramount and we take this obligation very seriously. All Metro buses are equipped with plexiglass safety barriers for operators, which operators have been instructed to use.

Is Metro Headquarters still open?

Due to the current public health crisis, effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, until further notice, Metro’s Gateway Headquarters will be closed to the public. Exceptions will be made for prescheduled appointments and essential business. The cafeteria will be closed to the public and the employment center will be open by appointment only.

What if I have an appointment in Metro Transit Court? 

Transit Court staff will continue to do administrative work but there will be no in-person hearings until further notice. Please send correspondence, including initial review requests, hearing requests, inability to pay forms & payments to: 

Metro Transit Court
PO BOX 866015
Los Angeles, CA 90086

Is Los Angeles Union Station still open?

Union Station will undergo a partial closure during the current COVID-19 event. The station will remain operational for ticketed Amtrak and Metrolink passengers. Access to their ticketing will be in a defined area. Please purchase your tickets in advance on-line if possible. Persons using Metro Rail (B (Red), D (Purple) and L (Gold) lines) and bus conveyances will also be appropriately guided to those services by security and station personnel.

Will any projects currently under construction or in planning be impacted because of quarantine 

It is too early to tell. We will know more as the situation evolves and will update with more information when it can be confirmed.  

Im in the vanpool program and now that were working from home, I wont be able to meet the 3-person/3-day minimum requirements. What should I do?  

Exceptions will be made for the next 120 days. Please include days that you telework in your Monthly Vanpool Report. If you have additional questions, please contact the Metro Vanpool Program Help Desk 213.922.7003 or vanpool@metro.net

 

If you have other questions, please leave them in a comment and Anna and Steve will try to answer as soon as they can. Thank you and stay safe!  

65 replies

    • Hi Carla,

      At this time the Customers Center will remain open.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • I would like to address that the trains LOOK nice on the outside but are so SMELLY I gag sometimes. Piss..dirt & trash all over. Seat need to be cleaned instead of pulling in & pulling right. back out! The Vermont & Western local buses are so DIRTY! The seats are dirty u can see it. I stand from Hollywood to exposition. Nasty. Clean those seats. Get new 1. Homeless are always on them

      • You are absolutely right.The homeless use the bus and train as hotels.The smell makes me want to vomit.They also never pay their fare.I am low income,but I always pay my fair.

  1. So METRO is saying that the Bus and Rail operators are not at risk even though they are openly exposed to being enclosed at prolonged periods of time with people/ the general PUBLIC OF more than 10 at a time….and they are not even being offered mask and gloves…I don’t understand the logic

    • Hi Ms. P;

      We didn’t say they’re not at risk. Everyone locally (and the world) is at some risk given that viruses can spread in several ways. Also, we’re told that operators are being offered gloves.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Do all the buses have the plexiglass barriers between the driver and the farebox now? I’ve noticed more operators using them in the last month than ever before.

        • Hi Henry,

          All buses are now equipped with the barrier. While it is not mandatory for operators to use them, we have encouraged their use as a way to protect from COVID-19.

          Thank you

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

        • Hi Henry–

          All buses do have the barriers and we’re recommending to our operators that they use them.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

      • Shame on Metro for not doing more for the Operators. They are supposed to be the “backbone” of Metro and yet they are being asked to continue to roll out everyday with no cleaning supplies on hand. My husband is an operator and we are personally supplying him with wipes to clean the fare box, driver seat and the area he has to be in and touch for hours at a time. Metro Executive Mgmt should try driving a bus all day with rubber/latex gloves on. Metro has not offered them any type of supplies to clean their areas. As stated by many, homeless ride the buses and trains as their personal moving hotels. The are not only at risk for Covid-19 but for the flu and other viruses. Protect your operators before there are none healthy enough to keep transit moving.

  2. Are the buses being cleaned periodically during the day or only once at night?

    • Hi Steven;

      Buses are being cleaned at least once daily and more as needed. We also highly recommend following best personal hygiene practices as your best defense, especially frequent hand washing, distancing (to the degree that you can) and trying not to touch face.

      Steve Hymon
      The Source
      Editor, The Source

  3. Is it possible for people who have the virus but are asymptomatic to pass the virus onto other people on the bus via contact with the seats, hand bars or by sitting next to other passengers?

  4. You said “Metro at this time is unaware of anyone who has contracted COVID-19 via our system, nor are we aware of any Metro employees who have contracted the virus.” But isn’t it true that people may be asymptomatic for many days or up to a week before showing any symptoms? Are you testing your Bus Operators for the COVID-19 virus?

  5. A suggestion: If healthy younger people were to voluntarily stand on buses and trains, seniors and disabled would not be as crowded in the seats, and this might make a difference in susceptibility for everyone (including the standees).

    • The key is not to seat next to each and avoid these really close contacts. Having younger people voluntarily stand will not somehow help with keeping the necessary distance and oddly enough it’s the senior citizens that are somehow having a hard understanding this.

  6. When you indicate for vanpools: “Please include days that you telework in your Monthly Vanpool Report.”, does this mean we should add them to the number of riders (if the van ran), or provide a separate count of the number of people telecommuting. If we are including them in the number of riders, then what do we put for travel time and mileage if the van didn’t run that day because everyone was telecommuting (or, in our case, if there was only one person left who wasn’t telecommuting).

    Additionally: These details should be included in a mail to vanpool operators, as not all read this blog. I do, but that’s because I also monitor it for my highway pages (cahighways (dot) org)

    • Hi Daniel,

      We highly recommend emailing vanpool@metro.net so staff can directly address specific details. We will make the recommendation to staff to include this info on any email notifications.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • Actually, I have emailed the vanpool address, but there has been no response as of yet. Please pass on this information, and I look forward to this information going out to vanpool operators. The Metro Vanpool program is a great one — I’ve been vanpooling since 1992, and operating a van since around 2012 — and I hope this health emergency doesn’t sink the program.

  7. Governor Newsom’s this past weekend stated people 65 and older should practice home isolation…. Is this something LA Metro will encourage and support for their employees who are 65 and older?

    • Hi Linda,

      Yes, Metro is evaluating workplace policy and remaining flexible to employees’ needs as well as the changing situation.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  8. On buses, what is Metro doing to assist with the 6 feet social distance? People disregard the national suggestion and patrons personal request. Out of fear during this catastrophic time, some are offended when people blatantly disrespect personal space. The seats are for 2, they’re close together, and some are still crowded. There are those of us that depend on Metro and expect them to do all they can to assist the public efficiently during this crisis.

    • Hi Darlene,

      At this time we encourage those who can stay home to do so. Anyone who must ride should follow LA Public Health’s guidelines. Staff is exploring different methods to remind riders of the best practices, and we will update if/when they are implemented.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  9. People regularly pee on the bus seats. How are you going to clean urine from the fabric? I’ve reported it to the drivers but the buses still smell like pee.

  10. Are all Metro employees who do non-front-line work being allowed to telecommute? Such as those who write for this blog, do graphic design, make schedules, do administrative work, etc.? Or only those who are over 65 or with conditions that put them at risk? Metro is a very large employer here in Los Angeles, and I’ve seen a lot of communications from other companies that explicitly state that all workers who can telecommute are required to. What are you doing to minimize your non-front-line workforce’s exposure? And public health officials have advised that we should all assume we have been exposed and behave accordingly. What are you doing to follow this guidance with your workforce at Metro?

    • Hi Jackie —

      In communications, the various departments have drawn up plans for who telecommutes and who comes into the office. I’ve been in the office this week and will be next week, as will some other members of our department. In our bus and rail divisions, managers have been given instructions for front line staff and Metro is coordinating with health officials about the appropriate response with all employees including those in higher-risk groups. As we’ve stated, we might be making service adjustments depending on ridership. Please stay tuned. We are doing our best to protect our employees and also offer a vital lifeline service for riders and the community at large.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Hi Steve,

        It sounds like folks who probably don’t need to actually be in the office, who could probably work from home, are being required to continue going into the office. Why is Metro contributing to the problem by having folks who could telecommute go into an office? Metro has so many workers. Is Metro waiting for its offices to become a hotspot/disease vector? What happens if someone contracts it in the office? The state, county, and city said tonight that there shouldn’t be groups of people gathering in sizes larger than 10 people. How are you complying with this at your offices? How many people need to get sick on Metro’s workforce before Metro will take responsibility for its role in flattening the curve?

        • Hi Jackie —

          Most people at Metro HQ have been working at home this week. Some of us are here because there is work to be done and we’re taking all the precautions that have been promoted. As of now, we’re unaware of anyone at Metro who has the virus. Even more people will be telecommuting today and going forward.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

    • Hi Kat;

      Yes, those of us who work on the blog ride the system. As far as I know, Metro is asking our police agencies to enforce Metro rules albeit in a humane way consistent with civil rights law and all other governing statutes.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  11. How will metro continue to conduct its Board and Committee Meetings during this time. Are meetings cancelled, will public comment still be part of any online meeting and/or town halls.

    • Hi Channing;

      The March meetings are cancelled and all items pushed to the next meeting. We’ll have details on public testimony when we know for sure when the next meetings will be.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  12. Will you be shutting down the construction on the purple line extension at La Brea?

    • Hi Kelly —

      See response to Marc. I’ll try to find out more.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  13. I find it funny how Steve and Anna are not replying to the post that specks about the drivers/operators. As in employee (operator) for Metro, there are no Safety sensitive protection equipment. Gloves are being offered, yes. But we are told to not wear masks because it can “interfere” with the safety of our operations. At this moment ever business is closed down and drivers are unable to use restrooms anywhere. The drivers room for train operator are disgusting and never clean. Safety is NOT the priority for their employees. Metro just wants to look good for the public but have zero care for the ones who risk their life’s and health for the company. Metro HAS to do better for the employees!!

    • Hi Ms. K;

      We’re posting comments about this. We’ll certainly pass along your comment about the lack of availability of bathrooms due to businesses being closed. As for masks, the agency has been in touch with health officials about this and it’s our understanding that masks are to be used to protect people in the highest risk occupations such as health care workers and emergency workers. There are also issues with masks in terms of how they’re used and how long they last. Obviously we recommend speaking to your supervisor about this. And, lastly, thank you for being out there and helping people get around.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  14. Will construction on the purple line continue amidst tonight’s announcement of stay at home orders?

    • Hi Marc;

      I was told earlier in the week that construction work would continue but we need to see how the latest orders impact construction. As you know, Metro contractors actually do the construction work. I’ll find out what I can.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  15. both Culver city and Santa Monica are having patrons boarding/exitiing though rear doors
    will metro start doing this as well?

  16. Do senior and disabled still have to pay fare? Is riding the MTA free like on 4th of July and New Years for the people who drink too much?

    • Hi Elaine,

      Metro is not currently offering free fares.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

      • Maybe you could talk to management. This is a crisis not an event where people practice debauchery and can’t be responsible and need a ride. Disappointed with MTA.

      • Any update on free fares since people have to enter from the back of the bus?

        • Hi,

          We are working with the Metro Board on next steps. At this time, if you need to ride, you are welcome on board.

          Anna Chen
          Writer, The Source

  17. Will the customer service offices at the union station be opened this coming Wednesday so I can update my senior ez pass?

    • Hi Jesse;

      Let me check tomorrow and definitely double check before coming down.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  18. Its nice to sit on comfy padded seats. But this is counter productive due to the thousand of commuters who ride the metro everyday. The seats are bound to get dirty and smelling. It is better if Metro implemented plastic/metal chairs like New York City trains. Easier to clean.

  19. Hi, Could you tell me how many days before the end of month one can purchase a Metro monthly pass for the following month? Thank you.

    • Hi Sarah,

      A 30-day pass can be purchased at any time. It will become activated upon first TAP for unlimited rides through 30 days.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  20. Anna or Steve I am a “Senior” and commute by Metro link. I park my car at the Gold line Station on Sierra Marda and Foothill. I can NOT get to the Gold line Parking because I was told by my Doctor to stay home and I am also following Governor’ directive.

    I do NOT want my car to be TOWED, I have called Police Department and the Gold line Parking and can not get a firm answer that they will Not TOW my car based on the current circumstances.

    if there any assistance you can give me or can you find out how they will handle my parking issue. Thanks for any assistance. Row

    • Hi Row;

      Could you please email all the details — including description of car and license plate number and where you parked it and when you parked it there — to hymons@metro.net. I’ll see what I can do. Can’t make guarantees but will try to help.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  21. I am concern that METRO is not communicating with their Drivers or METRO Drivers are not paying attention. Sunday evening our Mayor stated that METRO Buses will have customers enter the bus from the rear. METRO’s Driver was not aware. Later that day returning the METRO Driver had people to enter from the rear which was good. But, wait I still had to walk up to the front to TAP my card. I get it METRO is in Business to make Money. Why bother??? I mean really. It requires me to walk past people twice which is devastating for me, especially if I entered from the front as usual I would only encounter people once not twice! Something to think about.

    • Hi JMN;

      I apologize if the messaging was not clear. To emphasize for everyone: we are riders to use the rear doors and are reserving the front door only for those who use wheelchair or need to use the wheelchair ramp to board. We ask that all riders be in possession of the proper fare. We are not asking riders to walk to the farebox at the front of the bus.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  22. Greetings are certain posts being block?
    I just post a question regarding Metro Bus Drivers to have passengers enter from the rear per our Mayor of Los Angeles.
    I questioned the logic with passengers entering from the rear, but still have to walk to the front to TAP/Pay fare. I asked WHY?
    Really, think about it, I have to walk pass passengers twice just to pay! I stated the fact that I understand that METRO is in Business to make money, understood. But having passengers enter from the rear just to walk up to the front is just not helping the situation. If anything your new process.

  23. Thank you Mr. Hymon, for the proper procedure for entering the Metro Bus.

    Is it true that Metro service is going to be limited? Have you considered the fact with less buses on the road more people will be forced to be in cramp situation. Trust me if I could walk I would but I’m traveling from La Brea / San Vincente to La Brea / Hazel. I have no choice but to ride.

    • Hi JMN;

      Right now we’re running service levels between usual weekday and weekend. Service could be adjusted further – we’ll see. And, yes, social distancing is a consideration as well as what level of service essential travelers need.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  24. Is Metro providing COVID-19 testing for their employees? Are employees having their temperatures taken as entering their designated work sites? I have several relatives that work in call centers throughout multiple companies and now most of them work from home. Why is Metro not equipped with sources to work from home for all employees that can be set up to work from home to be a part of yhe stay safe at home for as many people as absolutely possible?

    • Hi Darlene;

      We are not providing testing but please keep in mind — as many media reports have noted — there is still a limited number of tests available and the appropriate authorities are providing guidance for who gets tested, under what conditions and when. We have instructed our managers to send people home if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and employees need a doctor’s note to return to the workplace. And we are allowing those who can work from home to do so. As for temperature taking, we are asking employees to do that at home — which is a pretty typical arrangement.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  25. In New York at least the buses have a plastic chain across the aisle to keep passengers from approaching the operators. This would maintain the 6ft distance, which otherwise is ignored as passengers still come up to ask questions, sometimes pay the (now voluntary) fare and other nonsense. Why can’t there be a plastic chain barrier to keep riders at a safer distance from the drivers?