COVID-19 update; Wednesday, April 1

The latest numbers from the L.A. County Department of Public Health posted Wednesday afternoon:

 

•Our messaging continues to be:

 

Metro Bus service levels have been reduced by about 20 percent and we’re trying 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 for your commutes. Real-time arrival may be better via the Transit app for your smartphone.

•On Monday we posted about the importance of reserving our buses and trains for essential trips only (including commuting to essential jobs), as per the county’s and city’s “Safer at Home” order limiting the public to essential travel. What this means:

–Beginning today, April 1, Metro’s law enforcement partners, the nonprofit PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) and Metro’s private security personnel will be conducting ‘assessments’ of riders at some of our busier transit hubs. The purpose of the assessments is twofold: educate all riders on the importance of limiting travel to essential activities and to try to connect vulnerable and unhoused individuals to shelter beds.

–With social distancing of paramount importance during the COVID-19 crisis, Metro is doing everything it can to avoid crowding on its buses and trains and to give everyone at least six feet of space. This helps avoid spread of the coronavirus.

Under the county’s order, essential activities include visiting a doctor or veterinarian obtaining medical supplies or medication, grocery shopping for yourself or others, providing care for minors, seniors, dependents and persons with disabilities or other vulnerabilities, legally mandated government purposes and to comply with law enforcement or court orders.

–During the assessments: No riders will be asked where they are traveling to or from. No one group will be targeted. No one will be forced to go to a shelter.

Additionally, as this is essential travel only, Metro encourages those using the system to only bring aboard one personal item. That can include a purse, backpack or similar sized work utility. Metro fare compliance officers will enforce fare evasion.

In short, this is big education campaign so we can make sure that those taking essential trips on our system can practice social distancing and we can connect those who need to the appropriate social services. If you have questions, please ask in the comments.

In the news…

The Washington Post is the latest to report that social distancing efforts on the West Coast, including our region, may have helped slow the virus’ spread compared to New York and other East Coast locales.

•In the Seattle area, transit isn’t much different than here — ridership is down 70 to 80 percent but people are still using buses and trains for essential trips, reports the Seattle Times. Excerpt:

After initially reducing service, King County Metro quickly restored some trips to allow more room for riders to keep their distance.

“We want to keep the transit system running,” said Metro General Manager Rob Gannon as the agency reduced service.

The outbreak has transformed the feeling of taking a bus or train in one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, turning something communal into another form of social distancing and introducing new worries for both riders and drivers about encountering the virus.

Ferry riders are asked to stay in their cars, bus riders are told to board through the back doors to avoid interacting with the driver and one leg of Seattle’s streetcar system has stopped running entirely. Riders say they are taking the advised precautions, sitting alone and avoiding touching their faces.

•This reads like an April Fools article: a stolen SUV was pulled over in Beverly Hills and police found 192 rolls of toilet paper within, reports the LAT.

•And, finally, our region’s own Joshua Tree National Park closes starting today. Here’s a pic taken last Thanksgiving weekend, a few weeks before the word “coronavirus” became well known.

Photo courtesy Steve Hymon.

 

 

6 replies

  1. Why is Metro still running full length trains on the A-Line? Given the drastic drop in ridership, wouldn’t it save money (and maintenance) to run shorter trains? Even single car trains could suffice.

    • Hi Sean,

      We continue to run longer train cars in order to support social distancing for those who need to ride.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • Uhh are you serious? You really wanna cramp people in a single car train? That’s exactly what you’re NOT supposed to be doing during this time. At least in a full 3-car and 6-car train I would actually have the space necessary to keep my distance from others during this pandemic.

  2. Monday:
    “Additionally, as this is essential travel only, Metro encourages those using the system to only bring aboard one personal item. That can include a purse, backpack or similar sized work utility.”

    Wednesday:
    “The police will also be enforcing a new rule that limits one bag or personal item per rider — which helps riders take up less space and helps with social distancing.”

    Hoarding is being done by people with cars, SUVs, and trucks. People without such vehicles rely on Metro for grocery and other essential shopping. How are they supposed to accomplish it with only “one bag or personal item.” Doesn’t that necessitate taking additional risk from multiple trips?

    Also, I don’t see how that “helps with social distancing.”

  3. I would hope that PATH along with metro security will scout out the 4 and 33 owls. The sheer amount of homeless that ride the bus all night is alarming when this virus is out there. Not to mention some of them are coughing and sick. They had my bus packed all the way till the people going to work were getting on . Something needs to change, we need to help them get to shelters. I understand it’s safer than outside but please help protect your owl drivers

    • To be honest. I’m surprised Metro is even running owl bus service at this time considering that by midnight, only the Hospitals should be open. Even grocery stores are well closed around that time.

      This only proves why we need a full on curfew of 10pm (midnight for essential workers) at the moment. Metro, you really shouldn’t be running the owl buses at all if this is how you’re gonna be running them.