COVID-19 update; Monday, April 20

Metro is now running Sunday schedules seven days a week along with some extra bus lines that do not normally operate on Sundays.

Question for riders/readers: how did your commute go today? We received very few complaints — the ones we did involved either a long wait for a bus, crowding that prevented adequate social distancing or pass ups (presumably because buses already had enough riders).

A few tips that may be helpful:

•We are looking at the number of people on buses across the system and trying to adjust for areas where crowding occurs by adding service where needed. 

•The busiest times on most of the system will likely be during peak morning and afternoon hours when people are traveling to/from essential jobs. If you have an essential trip that can be taken throughout the day, it might be better to take outside of commuting hours.

•If your trip isn’t essential, you shouldn’t be riding. Under L.A. County’s “Safer at Home” order, travel is only allowed for essential activities, including work to essential jobs (and there are many jobs considered essential), visiting a doctor or vet, 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.

•To manage social distancing, buses may at times need to pass up riders if the  bus is too filled to accommodate reasonable social distancing. If a bus passes you without stopping, this is likely the reason. Again, we’re trying to add service where needed and we encourage you to take essential but discretionary trips outside of the morning and afternoon peak hours. 

•The Sunday bus schedule best reflects both current ridership levels and our available staff — and that this service plan will result in more reliable service and better on-time arrival info via Nextbus and other websites. Metro does understand this is not a perfect situation and is monitoring service and adjustments may be made to supplement service where needed if resources are available. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our riders.

•And, of course, if you’re riding, we recommend wearing a face covering or mask, washing your hands frequently and following other good hygiene practices.

•The latest ridership estimates for Metro are about 360,000 average boardings on weekdays. That’s about 30 percent of normal — but also shows the number of people who depend on transit.  

•Metro has published a list of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees, contractors and vendors. The list will be updated daily.

•If you have the chance, please thank our frontline staff that are running buses and trains or working to keep the system clean.

The TAP vending machine at Memorial Park Station in Pasadena is cleaned on Friday, April 17. Photo by Adrian Hernandez/LA Metro.

•Here are the latest numbers from the L.A. County Department of Public Health. More than 80,500 test results are in countywide — the county has a population of 10.1 million — and testing capacity continues to expand.

In the news…

•The New York MTA, which operates the nation’s busiest transit system (by far), is facing extreme challenges in the months ahead, reports the NYT.

As of last Thursday, 69 employees had died of COVID-19 and more than 4,000 had tested positive. On the financial front, the agency estimates it will have an $8.5-billion shortfall (even with the federal stimulus bill recently approved) and tough choices loom between running needed service and a long list of capital projects to modernize the system.

What separates New York from the rest of the country is low car ownership rates and the highest percentage of workers in the nation who depend on transit to get to work — 58 percent across the New York region compared to five percent across the rest of the U.S.

The article concludes:

Still, experts say an efficient and effective public transit system will be critical to the city and the country — the New York region contributes 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

“The M.T.A. is the economic engine of the entire region; the economy is built around the spine of the subway, buses and commuter rails,” said Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the M.T.A., a watchdog group.

“You can’t reopen the economy without the transit system in New York.”

Quasi-related: the following tweet is from a New York Times transportation reporter. The comments, as would be expected, are mixed.

•On a related note, the American Public Transportation Assn. announced Friday the creation of a Mobility Recovery and Restoration Task Force. Metro CEO Phil Washington will chair the task force.

•Even with passenger loads down 95 percent and many flights canceled, the LAT found at least 15 airline employees have died of COVID-19 from April 5-13. But standardized reporting is difficult to come by.

•L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sunday that the city will need to furlough thousands of workers because of budget cuts due to declining revenues due to the ongoing pandemic, reports the LAT.

•Ventura County modified its safer at home restrictions on Saturday, reports the LAT. Excerpt:

The county’s modified order, which is in place through May 15, allows some businesses that don’t serve the public to operate using no more than 10 employees. Gatherings of up to five people are now permitted, as are gatherings in vehicles.

Golf courses and bike shops can reopen, and in-person sales of vehicles are now permitted. Officials also reopened county-run parks and beaches at 5 p.m. Friday.


Dept. of Distraction: This article on learning to bake break in Lyon, France, in the New Yorker is such a great, interesting read or listen. Here’s a 2010 video of the breadmaker that is the subject of the story. Warning: some very mild adult language/frustration as breadmaking isn’t easy.



3 replies

  1. Greetings,

    Today’s List of Confirmed Cases of Covid-19 one among Metro’s Bus Driver from Division #5 was diagnosed Positive.

    Will you kindly tell inform me with the following details:
    1. Metro Bus Number
    2. Date
    3. Time

    Thank you,

    Metro Customer

    • Hi Jannie;

      I’m sorry but we are not releasing that information (nor are other agencies) due to patient privacy laws. We are doing our best to keep bus operators at a safe distance from riders.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. Hello,

    Please try to bring back line 364 (chatsworth and sunvalley routes) to alleviate the overcrowding in line 166 specially early am. Thanks!