COVID-19 update; Thursday, June 18

It has been a while since we provided an update, so lots of ground to cover. Let’s start with today’s news:

From the state: Starting June 18, Californians must wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible. Learn more about the guidance and limited exceptions here.

Our overall messaging remains:

•The Metro Board of Directors will be considering several motions this month concerning policing and use-of-force by law enforcement on our system. Streetsblog LA has a good rundown.

•Metro has started giving face coverings to the riders at busy transit stations/stops. We estimate that about 95 percent of riders are wearing face coverings and we obviously want to get that number higher.

•Service changes take effect this Sunday, June 21. Overall we’re boosting service levels by about 11 percent with 1,101 more trips on 95 bus lines. We’re also reducing service on a few bus lines that have had low ridership. Metro Rail will continue the same service we’ve been running since mid-April.

In response to safer-at-home orders and the county’s reopening, Metro is restoring service in four phases. This is the first phase. We’ll have a Source post up with all the details very soon.

•Metro continues to update its list of employees, contractors and vendors who have tested positive for the Coronavirus — 107 as of Wednesday. As you’re likely aware, we’ve had one bus operator and one contractor (a security guard) who have died of COVID-19.

•Metro held its State of the Agency on Wednesday. The video is here.

•Below is Metro CEO Phil Washington in a conversation with ITSA on equity and access in transportation. ITSA is a company that promotes intelligent transportation solutions.

•Metro is in the midst of a fare pricing study. Here’s a presentation being given to the Metro Board this month.

•Scenes from transit outside of our region:

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A quick recap of day 1 of phase 1 reopening. 👇 About 800,000 people traveled with us yesterday. While we're running regular weekday service only for essential trips, we’re happy to have more essential and phase 1 workers back to riding the subway with us. Special thank you to everyone who wore their mask yesterday. Face coverings are required while traveling with us. We’ll continue to have some on hand in stations if you’ve forgotten yours. 📊Compared to last Monday, we saw an increase of about 17% in ridership systemwide (and an 85% decrease from 2019 avg.) To stay up-to-date with daily ridership stats, check out this page: ⬆️We've continued ramping service back up to normal weekday schedules on most lines to make sure essential and phase 1 workers have as much space as possible. Plan ahead and check status on your line here, myMTA or at before you go. ✨We also continue to disinfect 24/7. Stations will continue to close from 1-5 am. 🆓If you need to travel overnight consider free local and express bus service, or the Essential Connector: We also continued to install floor markings to give you a guide for how to keep safe social distance when you can. And we’ll continue handing out face masks and hand sanitizer for those who needed them. We’ll keep working around the clock to make sure you can get where you need to safely. Keep wearing your masks and washing your hands.

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In the news…

In the Atlantic, transit advocates point out that evidence is thus far scarce tying mass transit to Coronavirus outbreaks. Their fear is that if the public wholesale avoids transit in the future, we’ll likely get one big traffic jam as a result. Excerpt:

Far from scaling back on public transit, cities across the country need a massive transit expansion that will enable them to avert the mobility meltdown that threatens to swallow them if even a fraction of former transit commuters take to cars. The nation won’t recover if it adds a traffic crisis to the ongoing health and economic crises.

A good look in the NYT at the New York Subway as the city begins to reopen. Ridership is still down 80+ percent and riders are finding a system transformed with far fewer people and far cleaner cars and stations than in the past.

•Remember climate change? One byproduct of the safer-at-home orders has been reduced emissions.

•On the subject of telecommuting, the Washington Post runs through the list of challenges involving put a lot of employees in close quarters in an office.

•Check out the remarkable work of Philadelphia-based photographer Isaac Scott, who covered the Black Lives Matter movement and protests. Here’s a selection of images in the New Yorker and here is Scott’s IG stream.

2 replies

  1. If you are reducing service on some lines on Sunday, I would say it is really late to announce that information. It is difficult for people to change their plan with such a short notice

  2. Don’t tell me to stay 6 feet away from people until you include enough space on your buses to allow me to do so. You are continuously operating buses which are overcrowded (#206 line, #20 and 720 lines, #2 line)..

    Don’t keep telling me to wear a face mask until you can get ALL of the other bus passengers to wear one also. Look at yourself—don’t look at me. I always wear a face mask on the bus, but you are letting people ride without a mask.

    And don’t keep playing the recording on the bus that the bus is for “essential trips only”. If any activity is “essential” enough for Metro’s board of directors (such as the mayor) to reopen, I will consider that activity “essential” enough to take the bus to.