COVID-19 update; Thursday, March 26

Metro bus heads out from Union Station on Wednesday. Photo: LA Metro.

•The latest numbers from today, March 26.

•Thus, this messaging:

 

•Metro has stepped up cleaning, we’ve directed Metro bus operators to use the protective barriers installed in bus cabs and 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.

•This change was put in place on Monday: Metro is only allowing riders to enter and exit the rear door of our buses to help protect Metro’s bus operators. Wheelchair users can still use the front door. If you have a bike, please tell the bus operator before exiting so you have time to take the bike off the bike rack. More info here.

We’ve received many questions about how to pay fares since the TAP validators/farebox are located at the front of most Metro buses. The answer:

Metro encourages social distancing. Please board the rear of the bus and while you are not expected to use the fare box or tap validator at the front of the bus, please have a loaded TAP card.

•With many people staying at home, Metro will continue to run service as a lifeline to the community. But with ridership down — as of early this week an estimated 68 percent on bus and 81 percent on rail (which is still an estimated 340,000 boardings) — Metro announced service adjustments last Friday. Here they are:

Metro Bus service levels will be reduced 15 to 20 percent and we will try to strategically adjust select trips across the system to minimize inconvenience to riders and continue to provide good service on our busiest lines that riders depend on. To emphasize: we’re trying to reduce a bit of service across the board but do so in a way that won’t result in long waits for riders. We do recommend that you allow some extra time. 

We are running as many buses as we can with available staff (who are doing a heroic job) and we’re continuing to monitor and adjust service to meet demand and ensure essential workers can travel while maintaining a safe social distance. Because these adjustments are happening in real-time, our arrival data on NexTrip may not be accurate.

On the rail side, service will also be adjusted with trains running slightly less frequently during peak hours, meaning riders may have to wait a few minutes more for trains. There will be no late night service on Fridays and Saturdays. 

More specifically:

–Starting last Friday night, March 20, and until further notice, last trips departing terminal stations will be at midnight on all trains.

–Starting on Monday, March 23, trains on the B (Red), D (Purple), A (Blue), E (Expo) and L (Gold) Lines will run every 12 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. with 20 minute service at all other times. We will try to run as many three car trains as possible on these light rail lines to maintain social distancing for riders. D (Purple) Line trains will have four cars and B (Red) Line trains will have six cars.

–Starting Monday, March 23, the C (Green) Line will run ever 12 minutes from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then run every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 12 minutes from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and then every 20 minutes between 6 p.m. through midnight. Those trains will be two-car trains, as per usual.

We may adjust service further as conditions warrant.

•We posted earlier this week that a Metro maintenance employee at the Division 5 bus yard in South L.A. had been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19.

In the news…

•The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a COVID-19 stimulus bill that includes $25 billion for transit agencies nationwide, according to the American Public Transportation Assn. The bill next goes to the House of Representatives. LA Metro will be in line to get some of those funds. From our government relations team:

Specifically, for transit agencies nationwide, the bill would provide $25 billion through sections 5307, 5311, 5337, and 5340 of title 49, United States Code. According to preliminary estimates by Metro’s professional staff, our agency may receive approximately $710 to $810 million in assistance through S. 3548 – with specific terms on how these funds can be spent on matters directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Metro will, over the coming days, be working with relevant federal authorities, including but not limited to, the U.S. Department of Transportation and members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation, to ensure our agency takes all reasonable and prudent steps to allocate these important federal resources to their highest and best use in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we wrote earlier this week, a big financial hit for Metro will be lost sales tax revenue, as local half-cent sales taxes approved in 1980, 1990, 2008 and 2016 make up almost half the agency’s revenue. From the current Metro budget:

LAist covers the basics. To say the bill is being closely watched, is an understatement:

•This from the Washington D.C. Metro, which helps underscore the seriousness of this crisis:

 

•SF Muni is replacing light rail service with buses beginning Monday and combining bus routes to best help with essential trips. From SF Muni:

Closing the Muni Metro underground system will allow us to redirect custodial resources to other, higher-use facilities and minimizes risk to our station agents. Based on our ridership data and observations, we do not expect these changes to impact the ability of our riders and operators to maintain social distance. And while the rail system is closed to passengers, we plan on doing important maintenance work to our vehicles and infrastructure. It’s a unique opportunity to improve the state of good repair of our system and come out of this shutdown stronger than ever.

•Officials in Louisiana are asking if the crowded Mardis Gras celebration in New Orleans in late February helped spread the virus — with the answer likely being ‘yes,’ reports the NYT.

•State-to-state travel restrictions appear to be at an all-time high due to the virus, reports the NYT.

Daily News coverage of Metrolink’s decision to cut commuter rail service by 30 percent on Tuesday after ridership plunged 81 percent.

•Lots of talk about improved air quality in our area with so many staying at home. Here is latest data from the San Bernardino area — which usually takes the brunt of our poor air. On a normal day much of that green would be yellow.

Source: South Coast Air Quality Management District.

•Some other transpo news from Twitter:

 

•Today should have been Opening Day for the Dodgers, who were scheduled to host the Giants. Instead, the LAT writes that if the baseball season ends up canceled, Mookie Betts may never play for Blue under one scenario being considered by Major League Baseball.

Dept. of Get Up From Your Computers If You Can:

1 reply

  1. There are only the legions of Homeless riding around all night long like when I was going to work on the G line last night thats all there was out there. This is a health risk and they are not going anywhere and this is not addressed at all with current events.

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