COVID-19 update; Thursday, May 21

As seen on the A (Blue) Line earlier this week. Photo by Adrian Hernandez/LA Metro.

•Dept. of Public Health: 

•Dept. of Ridership Estimates: Interesting slide from a presentation today to the Metro Board of Directors. Obviously our ridership is down considerably as the county’s safer-at-home orders persist. But 416,000 boardings per day is higher than ridership at many agencies even before the pandemic.

•Dept. of Metro Art: looking forward to the resumption of live events at Union Station but in the meantime…

Dept. of Holiday Service: 

•Dept. of Governance: The Metro Board will consider the motions below at its full Board meeting next Thursday (May 28). It’s also worth mentioning that Metro is also currently working on a fare study.

In the news…

•As the number of new deaths due to COVID-19 reached a new high in California, many counties pushed ahead with reopening plans, reported the LAT. If there is positive news, it’s that the infection rate has slowed.

Good look by Politico of challenges facing the transit industry in the months ahead. Excerpt:

“Even with decreased ridership, transit agencies must remain in operation so people can access food, doctors, pharmacies, jobs and childcare,” more than 50 Democratic members of the House wrote back in March as part of their plea to leadership for transit funding in the coronavirus relief bill. “Those most reliant on public transportation include communities of color, low-income communities and people with significant cognitive and physical disabilities that use paratransit services.”

Democrats proposed another $16 billion in aid in a bill passed last week that is unlikely to gain traction in the Senate.

The article also covers the expanded cleaning and physical distancing that will be needed as the economy reopens.

And this: there is a lot of agreement by the experts now is the time to improve bus systems, which have the flexibility to adjust to changing ridership demands.

Streetsblog LA takes a skeptical look at the proposed bridge for the Crenshaw/LAX Line over Centinela Avenue. The Metro Board this month is being asked to approve the project definition and a CEQA exemption. Important to note: that’s not the same as a green light for the $200-million project, which still needs funding.

Yahoo reports on updated CDC guidelines that emphasize that the virus is most commonly transmitted person-to-person and that getting it from a surface is less likely. Here is the new CDC document.

•The city of Los Angeles and the county of Los Angeles can’t agree how to comply with a federal judge’s order to find a safer place for homeless to live than near freeways, reports the LAT.

•The Wall Street Journal headline says it all: Nothing irritates a masked walker like an unmasked runner. The article is behind a paywall but if you have access, it’s a good read. Excerpt from the L.A. part of the article:

“It feels like living in a zombie movie here. They’re running at you open-mouthed without masks on, and it’s like playing Covid chicken in the street,” says Nicole Georges, a 39-year-old cartoonist and podcast host in Los Angeles. She changed her dog-walking route to avoid runners, sometimes “going around my half block 14 times in a row just to get my dog some exercise,” she says.

Recently, she ventured back to her usual route and was aghast at the number of unmasked runners and cyclists. “Where is your mask! Germ pod!” she scolded them. “I just imagine one of those diagrams of all the germ clouds coming out of their unmasked mouths,” she says.

Los Angeles County’s official guidance to runners is that they should put on masks when they come near other people, and try to run in less-crowded places.

•In non-virus news — yes, the genre still exists — a good map that shows population increases and decreases around the U.S. Generally speaking, rural areas keep shedding people and some ‘burbs — especially in parts of the South and West — are gaining people. And here’s a release from the Census Bureau.



3 replies

  1. Ridership 1.2m per day before and 400k after for a drop of 67%? I should go into business selling bridges to the Board. As a daily rider of trains and buses all over the city this is hilarious. You’re running a modified Sunday schedule at maybe 10-15% regular capacity at best. Simple math would imply 1/12 of regular ridership. Where do they get these numbers?

    • Hi Thomas;

      We’re running about two-thirds of the service we were running pre-pandemic — not 10 to 15 percent. Regular Sunday service plus some bus lines that don’t normally run Sundays as well as extra trips that have been added to some bus lines.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Mr. Hymon, my mistake, I meant regular capacity in the sense of how many people on a particular bus compared to what would be the normal load. It was confusing how I wrote it. SF Muni down 87%, NYC MTA down 90%, BART down 94%, Chicago down 88%, Boston down 85-90% (depending on mode). Yet, the MTA is only down 67%? I’m a little suspicious.