It was a rough weekend for our region, LA Metro and our riders. After the city of L.A. expanded its curfew citywide on Saturday night, Metro took the highly unusual step of suspending service systemwide at 8 p.m. to protect the safety of riders and employees.
We’d like to explain our decision to suspend service Saturday and another issue that has been rightly questioned: the use of Metro buses by the LAPD to transport those who had been arrested.
Both of these situations were criticized by riders and questioned by the media. On Sunday morning, we apologized to riders who were stranded, and we offered to reimburse them for expenses getting home (please see the information on reimbursements at the bottom of this post).
We stand by our decision to put public safety first. While suspending service was a very difficult decision to make, we believe it was the right one given the growing violence on the streets of our county — other transit agencies across the U.S. had to do likewise. The safety of our riders and our staff has been, and will continue to be, our number one priority. Always. On Saturday afternoon, a Metro bus was trapped in the Fairfax District among protest crowds, threatening the safety of our operator. The bus was vandalized extensively. We’ve had about 62 buses damaged, including many in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night. That, of course, impacts our ability to provide transit service to our customers.
We also very much want to reiterate our apology to transit customers who were left stranded and for the delay in announcing that we were suspending service. Metro did reissue some buses to pick up stranded passengers in specific areas of L.A. and we sent Street Supervisors to various areas to patrol bus stops and notify riders that they needed to make other arrangements to get home. We understand that did not help all riders.
It is an unfortunate and unintentional coincidence that service suspension occurred at the same time local law enforcement requested our agency to provide eight Metro buses to transport detainees that night. Metro is required by law to provide mutual aid in times of emergencies.
We recognize the incongruent and unfortunate optics of this situation — taking transit services away from riders while providing our equipment for other purposes. We were asked to provide six buses tonight and we did so. We have asked authorities to exhaust their resources first before requesting our vehicles.
It is not Metro’s choice to provide these buses. And to be clear about Saturday night: Metro’s decision to suspend service was based solely on public safety and had nothing to do with law enforcement’s request to utilize Metro buses to transport detainees. With the exceptions of some rolling detours and station closures, we ran our regular service Sunday and we’re doing so again today and tonight.
Metro unequivocally believes in liberty and justice for all and we concur with and understand all protestors in their clarion call for racial justice and equality and against police brutality. Our own agency programs greatly reinforce this agenda, including our Board-adopted Equity Program, our Women and Girls Governing Council and our programs to help small and disadvantaged businesses.
Reimbursement info: For people who were able to get rides on Uber, Lyft or via taxi to replace a Metro trip, Metro will provide reimbursement for verifiable replacement trips with receipts that are made with these services. Patrons should contact Metro Customer Relations at 323.GO.METRO (323) 466-3876 for additional reimbursement information.
We do want to hear from you. Please leave a comment on what you thought of our decision and what you think Metro’s role should be during these challenging times.
Categories: Policy & Funding