COVID-19 update; Wednesday, April 15

Google posted this nice video earlier this week and Metro is proud that the very first shot is of our own Senior Service Attendant Sergio Lopez, who works at our Division 13 bus facility in downtown L.A. We really can’t say enough about the great work our frontline staff has been doing these past few weeks to keep buses and trains rolling for those making essential trips.

In a similar vein, if you’re anywhere near a car horn tomorrow at noon…

•The latest COVID-19 numbers from the L.A. County Department of Public Health are below. As you likely know, the county’s safer at home order has been extended until May 15.

Metro bus and rail service continues for essential trips only. We recommend that all riders wear a face covering or mask while riding transit. On buses, enter and exit using the rear doors with the front door reserved only for wheelchair users. You do not need to use the farebox, but please be in possession of a valid Metro fare.

•The big news this week remains the service changes that begin this Sunday.

As mentioned above, Metro will begin running a modified Sunday schedule every day of the week. The full Source post with line-by-line changes is here, but to summarize:

         –From Monday through Friday, we’ll also run some Rapid, Express and Local bus lines that normally do             not run on Sundays

–On weekdays, most trains will run every 12 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and every 20 minutes at other times with last trains leaving terminal stations around midnight.

–On both Saturdays and Sundays, Metro buses and trains will run on their regular Sunday schedule.

–Metro will be monitoring service in case adjustments need to be made.

We’re asking riders to take the time this week to plan their transit commutes next week. All Metro bus and rail timetables can be found here. You can also consult the trip planner at or Google Maps — both allow you to plan future trips. Use the “leave now” tab on both to choose the day and time of your trip.

•In government fiscal news, Metro CEO Phil Washington told Board committees today that he will ask the Board next month to extend the current year’s budget through September to give the agency a chance to develop a budget for FY 2020-21 (which begins July 1) that reflects the many impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The big issue for Metro will be lost sales tax and farebox revenues due to safer at home orders and diminished ridership. The federal stimulus bill will replace some of those dollars but not all of them and, thus, the agency will need to adjust.

In the news…

In the NY Post, Interim NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg honors the New York MTA workers who have died due to COVID-19 — 59 to date. The NY MTA also announced that families, beneficiaries or estates of those workers will receive $500,000 each, the same amount paid for workers killed in the line of duty.

LA Metro is tracking its COVID-19 cases here.

•An excellent and unflinching NYT article and photo essay on riding the bus in Detroit amid the pandemic.

The NYT surveys researchers on the six-foot rule of social distancing and whether that’s enough to avoid droplets with coronavirus. There’s generally agreement that it is — but still questions to be answered.

•Very smart story in the LAT on why testing still lags behind in the U.S. (although it is getting easier to get a test locally if you have symptoms). Excerpt:

“Right now, we are preventing the spread of the disease by extreme social distancing, by keeping people away from each other,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University.

“If we want to end that and let people interact with each other, we need to make sure infected people are not interacting with uninfected people. And the only way to know who is sick and pull them away from the uninfected is testing,” he said. “That is literally Disease Outbreak 101.”

•The LAT does some informed speculation on what reopening California may look like — staggered work shifts, more telecommuting, fewer seats in restaurants, more mask/face coverings and a pause in big gatherings such as concerts and sports events. And goodbye hand shakes.

NYT looks at the nation’s empty airports. Top of the story:

Jim Mack had made several trips to New York City before, but had never been the only passenger on a commercial jet landing at a deserted La Guardia Airport.

Instead of shuffling into the madhouse that is Terminal B on a typical weeknight, Mr. Mack was greeted by an eerie silence. “It felt like it was either closed or I had landed in the wrong terminal,” he said.

He had flown from Tampa, Fla. — just him and a Southwest Airlines crew — and now he was striding up the concourse toward baggage claim. The only luggage on the carousel was his. The lone Uber driver was waiting for him.

•If you have time, this excellent long article in the Atlantic looks at how the pandemic will likely unfold until a coronavirus vaccine is developed. Excerpt:

As I wrote last month, the only viable endgame is to play whack-a-mole with the coronavirus, suppressing it until a vaccine can be produced. With luck, that will take 18 to 24 months. During that time, new outbreaks will probably arise. Much about that period is unclear, but the dozens of experts whom I have interviewed agree that life as most people knew it cannot fully return. “I think people haven’t understood that this isn’t about the next couple of weeks,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “This is about the next two years.”

The pandemic is not a hurricane or a wildfire. It is not comparable to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Such disasters are confined in time and space. The SARS-CoV-2 virus will linger through the year and across the world. “Everyone wants to know when this will end,” said Devi Sridhar, a public-health expert at the University of Edinburgh. “That’s not the right question. The right question is: How do we continue?”


Things to watch whilst transiting or staying at home: on the off-chance you haven’t seen this yet, it’s funny and the last nine minutes is one of the best things I’ve seen on the Internet in a very, very long time. Five of those 10.8 million views are mine.


2 replies

  1. Hi, a question unrelated to this article. I understand the current situation, but is Metro hiring part time operators at this time?