COVID-19 update, Monday, March 30

•We can’t say enough good things about our operations staff that is keeping the buses and trains rolling and providing rides to essential workers. More below on this, but thought I’d share this comment:

•The latest numbers from Sunday:

•Our messaging continues to be:

•Rail service levels below. As for buses, some trips will be canceled. We’re trying to be surgical and prevent long waits. Please be advised that due to changes, arrival time info for buses may not be accurate.

•Social distancing and safer-at-home seems to be taking hold — helped by more closures this weekend:

•L.A. County also has a new online dashboard to track COVID-19. Screen grab:

The goal is to keep our health-care system from being overwhelmed by slowing the infection rate, i.e. flattening the curve. As you can see from the chart at top left, we have a ways to go for that to happen. This harrowing NYT article shows what paramedics in New York are dealing with as case numbers there have soared in recent days.

From an L.A. Times article published this weekend that looks ahead to how the virus may spread in April:

“The numbers can get huge, which means the implications for the healthcare system are equally dramatic,” said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s public health director. “Without slowing the spread, we could easily overwhelm our system here in L.A. County and the entire healthcare system in California.”

In both cities, Naval hospital ships have been dispatched to help clear space in hospitals for COVID-19 cases.

•As you likely know, we’ve seen a significant ridership drop with so many people staying at home. But people are still riding. Our ridership estimates show that we had at least 310,000 boardings each day on our buses and trains compared to the nearly 1.2 million we had on the average weekday in February.

Obviously a huge drop. But 310,000 is still more than some big cities (St. Louis, Dallas and Portland, OR, to name three) have had on weekdays prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (ridership numbers here). There has certainly been a lot of commentary on Metro on social media and I’m not going to pretend it’s all rosy — although there’s no shortage of folks thanking us for keeping the buses and trains rolling. A sampling:

The New York Times on Monday posted a story about how ridership on the NYC Subway is down more than 80 percent but many people are still riding, especially in low-income areas part of New York. Excerpt:

It is a striking change on a system that has long been the great equalizer among New Yorkers, a space where hourly workers jostled alongside financial executives. Now the subway is closer to being a symbol of the city’s inequality, amplifying the divide between those with the means to safely shelter at home and those who must continuing braving public transit to preserve their meager livelihoods.

If it sounds familiar, it should. Our own customer surveys show important Metro is to low-income riders here in L.A. County. From last fall’s survey:


•Footage of our oft-empty streets from our own Joe Lemon for a video that’s in-the-works:

Other stories in the news…

•Two New York MTA employees have died of COVID-19 and more than 150 (out of about 76,000) have tested positive for the virus, including the MTA chairman, reports the NY Post.

Photo essay in LAT on what our system looks like these days.

Story in LAT on how COVID-19 likely spread at a choir practice in Mount Vernon in Washington state.

Presentation by BART staff in Bay Area on impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The stimulus bill signed by Present Trump last week includes $25 billion to help the nation’s transit agencies weather the current situation.

•We’ll conclude today with some music from John Prine, who has been hospitalized with COVID-19, as per his family.


3 replies

  1. I hope this time is being used to give the Metro/7th station a thorough deep cleaning. It had gotten pretty disgusting before all this happened. Also, this is a good time for the city to do road repairs, such as filling potholes with the decreased traffic on the streets. Also steam cleaning the sidewalks would be good.

  2. Why Metro sill keep the staff working at the office?
    This appears to be in disobedience of the Governor and the Mayor

    • Only “essential staff” are still at headquarters. Most everyone else is telecommuting.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source