As it has for much of 2020, Metro’s messaging remains the same: we’re here to provide essential rides — whether to work or other critical destinations.
Riders are required to wear a face covering (with the exception of those who can’t due to a medical condition). As far as we can tell, compliance has been very good thus far — and we really need it to stay that way for the safety of all riders, our employees and, quite frankly, everyone in L.A. County.
With COVID-19 cases greatly increasing in California and the nation in recent weeks, we’re also pushing messaging from the L.A. County Department of Health. While it’s welcome news that vaccinations have begun, we’re still in a dire situation as hospitals fill up. We want space in our local hospitals for everyone who needs care.
From Nov 9th – Dec 10th, avg daily hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 increased 312%. We can't afford another holiday season surge that will further overwhelm our already strained hospitals. Please stay home & don’t gather with others. pic.twitter.com/Yqlvo8z3hC
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) December 15, 2020
UPDATE, Wednesday 4:30 p.m.: The situation only gets more dire.
COVID-19 Daily Update:
December 16, 2020
New Cases: 22,422 (566,005 to date)
New Deaths: 138 (8,568 to date)
Current Hospitalizations: 4,656
The number of new cases reported today are, in part, due to a backlog of over 7,000 test results received from one large lab. pic.twitter.com/jnkwYPRBkj
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) December 17, 2020
We’ve received some questions about why bus and train operators are not enforcing face coverings. Here’s a recent Source post that explains the answer — we want operators to focus on operating their vehicles while law enforcement handles face coverings).
A lot of people are out and about for a variety of reasons (including making a living!). Traffic may not be at pre-pandemic levels but it has certainly picked up. Here’s what it looked like at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Hard to know what to say about the 10 freeway between DTLA and Santa Monica that’s printable.
Quasi-related and pretty cool from my colleague John Gordon:
It's every Metro bus moving in real-time. There are still some issues, but what should we/could you do with this data? pic.twitter.com/4dZcLzdGE3
— John Gordon (@j6ordon) December 16, 2020
Some other agency news:
•Metro began implementing its NextGen Bus Plan this past Sunday to offer more frequent service on many routes and to reroute some buses to better meet today’s travel patterns. Here’s a roundup of the changes.
We haven’t received a ton of feedback — most has been along the lines of what is happening with the Rapid lines. The answer: in 12 corridors we’re combining local and rapid routes to offer more frequent service overall. The new lines stop a few less times than a local line and a few more than a rapid. We think this will better serve most riders who can now get on the first bus that arrives in these corridors.
•Metro also launched its Metro Micro on-demand service on Sunday in two zones — LAX/Inglewood and Watts/Willowbrook. See this Source post for more info about the service and the deets on ordering a ride.
•On Monday, Metro’s Recovery Task Force released their draft final report with 17 recommendations to help Metro and our region recover from the ongoing pandemic. Some pretty interesting and big ideas. Check out this Source post. Some of the recs may not be the sexiest of beasts, but I thought there was a lot of interestingness in there with some good ideas how to save some Benjamins.
•After many weeks of talk, two COVID stimulus bills with bipartisan support burped forth from Congress on Monday. About $15 billion would go to help public transit agencies around the U.S. although transit advocates — including the American Public Transportation Assn. (of which Metro is a member) — are pushing for $32 billion. Fans of Math might observe there’s a wide chasm between the two numbers. More in this Source post.
The LAT published an editorial this week urging Congress to help transit agencies. Excerpt:
Public transit was already struggling in many cities before the pandemic. COVID-19 could hasten a death spiral if agencies are forced to continue cutting service and sacrificing riders. The biggest losers would be the most vulnerable residents, including low-income workers, the disabled and students. The nation also needs strong transportation systems to help cut vehicle emissions and fight climate change. Once in office, President-elect Joe Biden and his pick for Transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, will have to move quickly, along with Congress, to bolster public transit systems.
In the media….
•President-elect Joe Biden nominated former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to be the Secretary of Transportation.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) December 16, 2020
It’s not surprising that climate change will be a big part of the job. The transportation sector in the U.S. is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases because of its reliance on fossil fuels (see below). The U.S. Department of Transportation plays a big role in setting vehicle mileage standards (along with the U.S. EPA) that could cut emissions. Along with putting in place policies that regulate railroads, ships and planes (all big emitters).
Quick note #1: In recent times, being a mayor has proven to be a viable path to the job. Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx was tabbed by President Obama for the job in 2013. Yeah, I know — 2013 feels like very ancient history in 2020.
Quick note #2: federal oversight of roads and vehicles, railroads, mass transit, shipping and aviation is important because all these cross state lines. However….a lot of the decisions that influence how you get around places like Los Angeles County are made in…Los Angeles County with your local elected officials calling the shots.
•On the subject of climate change, Steve Lopez of the LAT has a powerful column on how much we’re already seeing changes in California and how little he wants this to be the new normal. Highly concur.
•Although not a mobility story per se, the NYT has a great story about how climate change and wildfires are negatively impacting three iconic trees found in California — the Joshua Tree, giant sequoias and redwoods.
Categories: Transportation Headlines