COVID-19 update and Metro News; Jan. 7, 2021

•Because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases — and with Los Angeles County health officials calling the virus ‘out of control’ — Metro is experiencing staff shortages. As a result, some bus or rail trips may be canceled — we are trying to shuffle staff to minimize the impact on any particular bus or rail line.

From our Source post on Tuesday:

In the past few days, about 30 percent of Metro’s bus operators have been out due to either being quarantined, caring for family members or having COVID-19. The number of positive cases among agency staff and contractors has doubled in the past month.

These impacts to transit service will likely continue until the number of COVID-19 cases decreases in our region and more employees can return to work. Other transit agencies around the region — including LADOT and Foothill Transit — are experiencing similar challenges.

We encourage riders to use Transit — Metro’s official smartphone app — to plan bus and rail trips and check crowding predictions. We also suggest allowing additional time for travel. And a reminder: face coverings are required for all riders except those with a medical condition.

Metro will continue to be there for essential travel. Please everyone be safe — and best wishes to all riders and Metro staff who are ill, caring for sick family members or in quarantine. There is no sugarcoating the grimness of the situation — see tweet below. If you can stay home or limit your trips out, please do so.

In other agency news…

•If you need a break from doomscrolling, check out our Metro 2020 year in review. As troublesome as 2020 was, we made progress on a variety of interesting projects and programs.

In the news this week…

•The U.S. Transportation Secretary — with 13 days left in her term — has resigned over the events of Wednesday in Washington D.C. Her husband is U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was in the Senate at work yesterday when the Capitol Building was overrun by a mob.

Excellent article in the LAT on anti-collision technology that is now finally in place on railroads throughout the United States — a dozen years after the deadly Metrolink crash in Chatsworth that inspired Congress to act.

•Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval will replace John Fasana on the Metro Board of Directors, reports StreetsblogLA. Sandoval is also the chair of the Foothill Gold Line Authority, the agency currently building the L Line (Gold) extension to Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona.

•The cost of building transit in the U.S. is often higher than overseas and a recent Eno Foundation report digs for some answers why, reports Human Transit. Hint: the cost of tunneling in the U.S. seems to be a major reason.

•Some passengers who use New York’s Penn Station — a depressing place buried under Madison Square Garden — will have new digs at the site across the street of the old grandiose Penn Station. The NYT takes a look.

Also in the NYT recently, the latest salvo in the what-will-the-future-office-look-like-and-will-people-still-telelcommute saga. Seems to me that even some occasional telecommuting could go a long way to easing traffic for those who must go to work. But what do I know? #CricketsAreMySoundtrack

Finally, a song about communities, countries, etc. finding their way.






3 replies

  1. When are the politicians and those in the health department going to have the balls to admit public transit is ground zero to be infected? Masks are only one equation . The seats and handrails on buses and trains are only cleaned after the transit vehicle is pulled back into their respected yards and that can be over eight hours in service and thousands of passengers transported some of which are infected. The MTA and other agencies have chosen to reactive instead of proactive with the situation. Stationing Service Attendants, regular or temporary, at the end of each line to sanitize the vehicles would substantially lower the positivity rate in Los Angeles County. This would include altering the route of some bus lines via a Pink Letter so as every bus in the area could be cleaned efficiently. Perhaps such a innovative idea is coming from someone with over 31 years with the RTD/MTA instead of the amateurs at the MTA is because its not in some text book instead of on the job experience as I have. This post will probably disappear with no comment from those at the MTA because they don’t want the public to know about their incompetence and their lack of care.

    • Hi fine7760;

      This comment from you — like most posts from you — was published even though it probably shouldn’t be. As usual, and under the cloak of anonymity, you say whatever you wish, you offer no proof for what you say and your main point is once again that everything was better prior to your retirement. For those who have read this far, I will only say local health officials have said the main source of transmission of the virus is people gathering at home — although the LAT had an article the other day about workplace transmissions. Health officials have placed an emphasis on wearing face coverings, saying that appears to be the best way to prevent catching or transmitting the virus. As for the cleaning of vehicles, we are doing our best with the staff and financial resources we have and we have been reminding riders to do things like frequently wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer. That said, it is literally impossible to clean every single thing on our system as soon as someone touches it.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Gee I don’t know man, last I heard from my peeps in Tokyo, those trains are slammed but yet are seeing about 2K cases per day at a population of 15 Million (or 38 million for the entire Tokyo metro area), compared to 14 million LA metro area. If you actually believe that public transit is ground zero for what’s happening, then you are clearly on some conspiracy theory trip that needs to stop. You’ve shown no proof whatsoever and need to perhaps actually look into how other transit systems are doing it.

      I used public transit during a 4 day trip LEISURE trip to Seattle and came back completely fine. The Sound Transit buses and trains were actually some of the cleanest so just spare the crap already man. I hate the fact that there is clearly incompetence at Metro as well and people will agree with that, but calling public transit as ground zero for COVID is just as ridiculous.

      It’s called hand sanitizer!! Buy it and use it EVERY TIME you ride. Apart from COVID, you don’t even what else is on those poles, yet I never saw you complain about that. Have some personal responsibility as well.