L.A. Metro apologizes to people ‘stranded’ after services were halted over protests

Local News

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Sunday apologized to riders left stranded after a halt to all services amid protests.

“Metro apologizes to transit customers who were stranded as a result of the suspension of transit services on Saturday night,” the agency said. “We took this action out of utmost concern for the public and our employees during the growing severity of this protest.”

L.A. demonstrations against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis were centered Saturday in the Fairfax District, where people climbed onto buildings and a police car went up in flames. Some Metro buses were seen vandalized and covered in spray painted markings, people at times jumping on top of them.

Crowds grew larger as they moved through surrounding areas, leading to a citywide 8 p.m. curfew.

At 8:12 p.m., L.A. Metro tweeted it was ending all rail and bus service until 5:30 a.m.

That decision led to some riders being left stranded, the agency said in a statement, announcing services would resume Sunday after “many people expressed concerns.”

The transit service also promised to reimburse riders who paid for an Uber or cab to get home Saturday night, telling them to call customer service at 323.GO.METRO or email CustometRelations@metro.net.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced another 8 p.m. curfew Sunday, but L.A. Metro said it plans to run on regular schedule until midnight, then again on Monday morning.

As Santa Monica began to get crowded with protesters on Sunday afternoon, however, city officials announced the Metro Expo Line service is terminating at the 26th Street station.

“There may be rolling bus detours and temporary service suspensions depending on the situation in the area,” L.A. Metro said in a tweet. “Safety for our riders and employees is our top concern.”

Garcetti also apologized for the ending of Metro services Saturday night.

“It was not an easy decision decision given the challenge of balancing safety and maintaining that lifeline for so many people,” Garcetti said, explaining he decided to halt service out of concern for transit employees. He mentioned the damage left to a Metro bus amid the unrest.

But, on social media, some blasted L.A. Metro further when LAist tweeted a photo of uniformed officers appearing to escort people in handcuffs onto a Metro bus.

KTLA reached out to L.A. Metro by email and phone for comment on the photograph and confirmation of whether Metro buses were used to transport detainees.

Less than two hours before announcing an end to all rides Saturday, the transit service had announced there would be no trains or buses running through East L.A., the Fairfax District and downtown — areas hit by protests in recent days.

Changes to services didn’t start Saturday until just after 2 p.m., when L.A. Metro said L Line trains would skip Mariachi Plaza and Soto Station in Boyle Heights.

“Consider Line 30 as an alternative,” the transit service told riders in a tweet.

Riders received little notice about the halts to service that would come just hours later, leading to L.A. Metro’s formal apology Sunday morning.

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