COVID-19 update and Metro News; April 6, 2021

•Metro continues to offer essential trips. We’re running about 80 percent of our pre-pandemic service with bus service set to increase in June and then return to normal levels in September.

•Face masks/coverings are required to ride Metro unless you have a medical excuse. Mask dispensers are being installed in the Metro system.

•To the extent possible, please try to social distance when in our systems and on buses and trains.

•Please use the Transit app — Metro’s official app — for bus arrival info and crowding predictions.

•Virtual TAP cards are available on recent iPhones and Android phones. More info here.

•With the number of COVID-19 cases falling from the winter surge, L.A. County moved into the less-restrictive Orange Tier on Monday. Gov.  Newsom today announced he is aiming for a full reopening of the state on June 15.

•With the Dodgers allowing  some fans back into the ballpark, Metro will be running a modified Dodger Stadium Express beginning Friday for Opening Day. More info here.

Agency news…

•Metro is hiring bus operators!

New FAQ on the Oscars that are being held at Union Station on April 25. The station is remaining open to riders but there will be some detours around parts of the facility that will be closed this month.

Upcoming scoping meetings for the Arts District Station project — i.e. a street level subway stop near 6th Street. The project needs to secure finding to get built — and getting the planning done is a good way to compete for those dollars.

•Metro is updating its Highway Program so that more types of projects — especially those friendly to people and bikes — are eligible. Deets here.

•Two Metro Art updates … The artwork was installed at the aerial Aviation/Century Station on the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Check it out if you’re near LAX (and see below). Also, Metro Art is offering four virtual dance/movement performances at Union Station this month. Info here on how to watch.

View from the station plaza

In the media …

The NYT ponders whether President Biden can change America’s preference for cars over buses and trains. As part of his new infrastructure bill, Biden is proposing to spend $85 billion on transit. That’s a hefty chunk of change for sure — although it’s a big country and it remains to be seen who-gets-what if the bill in its current form gets through Congress.

Good excerpt:

But some experts say this gets the causality backward: Decades of government investment in roads and highways — starting with the creation of the interstate highway system in 1956 — have transformed most cities and suburbs into sprawling, car-centered environments where it can be dangerous to walk or bike. In addition to that, other reliable transit options are scarce.

“We’re almost forcing everyone to drive,” said Catherine Ross, an expert on transportation planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “The choices that individuals make are deeply shaped by the infrastructure that we have built.”

My three cents: I think there are plenty of people who do want better transit options, including many already riding. That’s plenty good reason to make something well above the bare minimum investment in transit. I also think there are plenty of folks who like to drive and don’t mind car-centric places (a point the NYT overlooks). But it would sure be nice if there was finally more of a balance between the two.

Another NYT article looks at how the Biden bill addresses racial inequities — including the possible removal of freeway segments that plowed through neighborhoods in cities across the U.S.

•LA Metro is one of several large agencies that has upped its game in recent times when it comes to digital apps that help riders plan trips. In our case, that meant partnering with the Transit app.

John Gordon, L.A. Metro’s senior director of marketing strategy, digital and advertising, is quoted heavily throughout — probably because John is eminently quotable and calls ’em like he sees ’em. Excerpt:

“The cold water that’s been splashed on the face of a lot of transit agencies over the past decade is the realization that we need to pay attention to our riders’ needs, and we need to build an experience that is competitive,” he said….

Similarly, L.A. Metro chose to partner with the privately built Transit app. No money is exchanged between Transit and L.A. Metro, but the agency now encourages riders to download the app and shares information such as passenger counts with the Transit team. Transit maintains the app’s digital architecture and builds new features in collaboration with the agency.

The alternative was to salvage the reputation of the app L.A. Metro first launched in 2012.

“One of the reviews on the App Store was ‘A five-year-old could have made this,” L.A. Metro’s Mr. Gordon said. “The best thing we did was hand the responsibility of developing a wayfinding app over to people who are really good at it.”

Could not highly concur more.

Categories: Policy & Funding

2 replies

    • Hi,

      Fares have not been waived. Please carry valid fare during travel and be sure to TAP at rail stations or on buses with rear-door validators.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source