As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, one question that we have regularly received from riders is this: why aren’t bus and train operators enforcing Metro’s requirement to wear face coverings while on our system?
The answer: Metro has asked our bus and rail operators to focus solely on safely operating their buses and trains. We believe those jobs command the full attention of operators. Navigating multi-ton buses and trains safely – especially through L.A. traffic – is no easy task and we want 100 percent of our operators’ attention devoted to getting everyone to their destinations.
This is why we’re leaving education and enforcement of the face covering requirement to Metro’s security teams and our law enforcement partners, which include the Los Angeles Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
And to be clear: we’re putting a much heavier focus on education over enforcement. We want riders to understand why we’re asking them to wear a face covering (short answer: because they work, according to health officials). Metro also believes our security teams are in a better position to determine which riders can’t wear face coverings for health reasons and to de-escalate any disagreements about face coverings, rare as they have proven to be.
The good news on this front is that we have been doing regular counts since our face covering system went into effect May 11 – and the vast majority of riders are wearing face coverings. Although complaints have been few, if you see a Metro employee not wearing a face covering or security ignoring riders without face coverings, please contact Metro’s Customer Care at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 213-922-6235.
Our street teams will be on the system this month handing out face coverings. Please feel free to take one – even if you already have one or more. With the pandemic now in its ninth month and face coverings required outside of your home as per L.A. County health orders, it’s smart to keep extra face coverings in different places – i.e. purses, pockets, knapsacks, the car, etc. These days you literally need a face covering everywhere you go.
We also want to remind riders that Metro’s TransitWatch app for smartphones has been improved and now includes Spanish language support. The app can be used to contact Metro security, submit a report and upload photos about a safety issue and to receive push notifications of critical alerts from Metro. The app is free and available in the Apple App Store for Apple devices and in the Google Play store for Android devices.
And finally this: we do wish to extend a huge thank you once again to our riders, Metro’s security teams and law enforcement partners, as well as our frontline staff that have all worked together to keep our buses and trains safe, rolling and clean.
Metro has been able to maintain much of our regular service over the past nine months of the pandemic and it has taken the proverbial village to do so. That includes the help of riders – we can’t emphasize that enough. As the saying goes, we are all in this together and everyone’s role is crucial and potentially lifesaving.