Metro recommending that riders use non-medical face coverings or cloth masks on buses and trains


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that all people should wear non-medical face coverings or masks in public as a way to possibly slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Metro is following suit. We, too, now recommend that all transit riders wear face coverings and masks on our buses and trains. The agency continues to work to provide and procure as many face masks as possible for its frontline workforce.

Please note that face coverings and masks do not replace other public health hygiene practices. We ask everyone to continue limiting travel to only essential trips, maintain physical distance from others, wash hands frequently and use other good hygiene practices.

Although much needs to be learned about the coronavirus, it is known that the virus spreads via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Face coverings and masks help prevent those who have the coronavirus but aren’t showing any symptoms from infecting others. As one doctor explained to the New York Times, “when someone who’s infected is wearing a mask, they’re much less likely to transmit infection.”

As you have likely read, there is a shortage of masks at stores and online retailers. Health officials and retailers are also, and appropriately, saving the highest quality masks (especially the N-95 type) for hospital workers and those in the healthcare fields.

If you can’t buy a mask you can definitely make one. Most experts say that a variety of materials — ranging from cotton T-shirts to bandanas to gaiters — can be made into a face covering or mask and will at least afford some level of protection. If you can sew, that’s great.

In addition to the above video, there are plenty of online guides and videos to making a face mask or covering:

This report from ABC News includes a trio of videos on DIY masks.

•This New York Times article includes step-by-step instructions on making a mask, as well as a template for cutting the right size material.

•This Instagram video shows how to make a face covering out of a bandana or scarf and two rubber bands.

We want to repeat that a face covering, or mask is not a substitute for social distancing, but it is a way to help protect yourself and others while in public spaces. So, if you can stay home, stay home! If not, consider covering up before heading out.

12 replies

  1. Greetings Mr. Hymon:

    Line #212

    I commute from La Brea /San Vincente (MidCity) to La Brea / Hazel (Inglewood) Monday – Friday 9am and 5pm (also at 2pm for late lunch).

    I have a long history with Line #212 at the Green Line Stop at Hawthorne/Lennox Station. All I can say is OMG!!! Trust me when I state my fears. I am truly speaking from experience.

    One thing I failed to mention… some of your Drivers are blocking 6 to 10 seats (depending on the bus configuration) by blocking the Wheelchair and Handicap seating area. I can appreciate the Driver’s needing to keep passengers at bay. But you must understanding my concern of crowding of the Buses. Today in fact, was too crowded for me.

    I have always been proud of the fact, never arriving to work LATE!!! It’s not easy to do caring for my mother whom has Alzheimers, but with a knowledge of Metro Bus Schedule I was always able to arrive early to work. Never Ever Late!!!

    Now I have no way of planning my trips. I am totally at the mercy of Metro Bus Driver’s whims. I have experience Sundays waiting for the Bus. Once I was waiting so long… I started searching Metro’s Website to find out if the Bus was coming at all… while looking down briefly, the Bus passed right by me. I was standing next to the stop. I am positive that I did not appear to be a homeless person. So when I say I am at the mercy of Metro Bus Drivers, I am not exaggerating this sad fact.

    I feel like I need to SCREAM before Metro SCREWS me. I cannot continue to use Uber when Metro fails me. I just cannot afford it.

    Mr. Hymon, thank you, I truly appreciate your time and effort to assist me.

    Stay Safe and Healthy,

    Frustrated Metro Customer

    • Jannie –

      Using the Google Maps trip planning tool, I see 212 buses leaving La Brea/San Vicente at 7:05 a.m. and arriving La Brea/Hazel at 7:34 or another bus at 7:48 and arriving 8:24. There’s another bus at 8:26 but doesn’t get there until 9:02, which may be too late. In the evening, I see buses leaving La Brea/Hazel at 5:16pm, 5:47pm and 6:17pm.

      So there are buses although I clearly understand your issue is the number of people on each bus and the possibly of being passed up. I’ll let our bus planners know your concern (it’s my next email) and I know they will be monitoring ridership and trying to put extra buses if buses on a particular line get too crowded. And I hear you loud and clear on your need to get home to take care of your mom.

      My other recommendation is — especially in the morning — try to leave early so if you can’t get on one bus there is the possibility of getting on another. I understand that may not be possible.

      Good luck and please let me know how things go. As you likely know, we’re recommending everyone wear a mask while on buses or trains and to wash hands frequently. You may also want to wear gloves. These days there is no such thing as too much protection.

      All the best,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Hi Jannie;

        I have a little more information on the 212. Due to staffing issues (because of coronavirus), there have been a fair amount of trips canceled on that line over the last few weeks. That has resulted in widespread, unpredictable gaps in service that created crowding issues. Under the Sunday service change, we will have the staff we need so the buses should show up when they are supposed to. We are going to closely monitor the system for any instances of crowding and make adjustments as necessary. The bus operations staff is aware of issues with the 212.

        Please let us know how it goes and do not hesitate to reach out if you need any assistance. You can leave a comment here or feel free to email me directly at Thank you again for riding and writing!

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

  2. Greetings:

    I concur with JK.

    Beginning Sunday the 19th of April 2020, Metro (MTA) is changing their Schedule to “Sunday’s Schedule”. Bus Drivers has warned me that there’s going to be significant less amount of Buses and prepared, to be passed up if Bus Driver deems Her/His Bus is too crowded.

    This is a major issue with individuals more concern about “Their Rights”. Why must it be an invasion of ones rights? Speaking of “Rights” why is one person’s Rights more important than another’s Rights? Why not compromise? It’s simple Do Not Sit/Stand So Close to People. You do not have to wear a mask when you’re by yourself, however when you come in contact with another person simply place your mask on. Remember Rights… You have the Right to believe what you believe, but so does the other person with a different opinion.

    It’s sad “The Essential Workers” whom our Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newsom deemed “Hero” are being treat like CRAP on Metro’s Shoes.

    The more I think about it, the more I feel like Metro is violating Los Angeles City/County Code regarding Social Distancing, reason being by limiting the amount of Buses, Metro is placing ALL Essential Worker’s Health in jeopardy. Perhaps Metro would consider making an announcement that the Board of Directors and Executives shall be joining the Essential Workforce Monday morning with the commuters (Rush Hour) from Glendale using Line #183 or take a simple ride down La Brea Avenue from Hollywood to South Bay. I know for a fact that Metro would take heed to what is being said. However, I doubt anything would change, I can not get pass the fact that money is a major factor at play.

    Come Monday evening after my experience riding Metro with new Sunday Schedule, I may have to resign my job, and not have any income due to the fact I was forced to resign from place of employment out of fear for my well being and my elderly parent whom I care for as well. End result No Unemployment Insurance Eligibility. Being afraid of contracting Covid-19 by riding the Metro Bus during a Pandemic is not just cause to claim Unemployment.

    Stay Safe and Healthy,

    Frustrated Metro Customer

    • Hi Jannie;

      What bus line do you ride? Could you please let us know a little more about your commute?

      We do have the ability to adjust service and add service after the schedule changes begin — for example, if buses get too crowded.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. I am a worker of “essential business” and take the bus to commute. LA Metro started “rear door only boarding”, which makes sense to protect our beloved drivers. The problem is the passengers in the back side. Each commute from downtown LA to the west, I sit with more than 10 other passengers, and only 50% to 70% of them wear a face cover. I know it is still an improvement compared to last month where nobody wore anything. However, still those 30% of people talk on the phone, cough subconsciously and don’t even realize, and touch the bells/cords to get off. Those small buses, there are no room for 6′. We are in there maximum 2 or 3′ when it’s busy (although still a lot less passengers than usual). I am very concerned about getting on to the bus, and scared stiff of spreading the virus to the vulnerable…Is there something we could do make the buses safer?

  4. Wearing neutral colors is highly recommended. Certain areas of Los Angeles can be somewhat dangerous. There was an article of a young man that was assaulted for wearing the wrong color in a certain part of a neighborhood. Stay safe out there.

    • Hi John;

      I haven’t seen any media articles to that effect and I tend to think that’s conjecture. Could you please provide the link to the article so readers can decide for themselves whether it’s credible?

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. I’m down. Now if only there was somewhere for transit riders to wash their hands. Between Metro and Metrolink, there are 155 stations but the only station with a soap and sinks is at Union Station. Can’t both agencies at the very least install sanitation stations and portajohns in all stations and then, moving forward, agree that all train stations in a developed nation should have functioning public restrooms?

  6. Greetings:
    This morning it was pouring down rain. My Bus #5698 Line #212 arrived on time. When I enter the Bus there was only one person on the bus, usually its at least 10 and several more during my journey since the “Stay Home” campaign. But today, there was only a total of six during my entire trip to work from La Brea / San Vincente to La Brea / Hazel.

    I have always suspected that most of the passengers were not Essential Workers. I believe they are just riding because its free. In the city of Baltimore the citizens are carrying documents proving they are Essential Workers by doing so people have been STAYING HOME.

    Let’s just say this morning trip on the Metro Bus #5698 was the most enjoyable ride with stressing because I am surrounded by people who are not practicing safe distancing.

    Thank you for reading my message. Perhaps METRO could share my thoughts to the Mayor/Governor if you think it could possibly a good idea.

    Stay Healthy,