COVID-19 update, March 19

•There are 190 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County as of noon Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Those numbers will be updated Thursday afternoon.

•We continue to remind everyone that the best defense for everyone includes:

–Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Hand washing tips from the CDC are here. And try not to touch your face.

–Stay home if you are sick.

–Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue.

–Make sure you are using a robust, regular cleaning schedule for frequently touched surfaces such as cell phones and computers.

Metro is running service, and people are still riding — with many getting to jobs that are important. That said, all of us are seeing fewer people on transit here and elsewhere in the U.S. As we wrote in our COVID-19 FAQ, service may be adjusted to meet on-street realities. From our standpoint, service has been very reliable this week and we certainly appreciate those still riding.

•Metro riders will have access to buses and trains, but a partial closure of Union Station will be taking place this week. What this means is that riders using Metro buses and trains will be guided to those services by security and station personnel.

The station will also remain operational for ticketed Amtrak and Metrolink passengers — we encourage the public to purchase Metrolink and Amtrak tickets online if possible.

•And this reminder: Metro Board of Director meetings this month have been cancelled. Items scheduled to be heard by the Board this month will carry over to the next meeting. Agendas for the committees that were canceled are here.

In the news…

•The latest stimulus bill to help Americans cope with economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns was signed by President Trump on Wednesday and work on another bill is underway, reports NPR.

•In the city of L.A., the City Council met for eight hours Tuesday and discussed a wide variety of measures to help residents deal with the ongoing crisis — including more paid sick leave, reports the LAT.

•The largest and busiest transit system in the nation — the New York MTA which operates buses, the subway and commuter rail — will seek a $4 billion federal bailout for ridership declines due to the COVID-19 virus, reports the NYT.

As is the case in our region, the New York system must keep running to help people reach critical jobs, especially in the health care field. As is also the case almost everywhere in the U.S., revenues from fares help pay for service. That’s true here, although LA Metro also relies heavily on funding from the four sales taxes approved by L.A. County voters in, respectively, 1980, 1990, 2008 and 2016.

•In the Bay Area, where seven counties are sheltering in place due to the virus, BART commuter rail ridership has also steeply fallen, reports BART with a decline of 85 percent over normal weekday ridership on Tuesday. BART, like the New York MTA, will be applying for federal funds to help weather the losses in revenue.

•Good photo essay in the New Yorker on New Yorkers stocking up household goods.

Things to listen to whilst or whilst not transiting: in this recent episode of the Judge John Hodgman podcast, a soon-to-be-married couple spar over exactly how much recycling is good for any household and exactly how many cabinets should be filled with old yogurt containers. Very funny.

 

 

6 replies

  1. Why don’t Metro send staff to work at home, to take care of their health, and to save life.

  2. In what way is Metro closing part of Union Station? Is Metro sanitizing Union Station? Hope Metro starts with the loos.

  3. WITH THE NUMBER OF COVID-19 CASES RISING EVERY DAY AND THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING WHY HAVEN’T MTA SUSPENDED SERVICES OF BUSES AND TRAINS OR AT LEAST PROVIDE THERE OPERATORS WITH ADEQUATE SAFETY PROTECTIONS SUCH AS GLOVES AND MASKS….OR EVEN ALLOWING FREE RIDERSHIP