L.A. Metro to add, increase frequency of bus trips to help ensure physical distancing

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A Los Angeles metro bus is seen in an undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles metro bus is seen in an undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

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The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced plans Friday to modify bus services in an effort to ensure physical distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Metro will add bus trips to 95 lines that currently run daily and will increase the frequency of trips on heavily used bus lines, according to a news release from the agency. Additionally, running times will be adjusted based on faster current speeds due to reduced traffic conditions amid the state’s stay-at-home order.

L.A. Metro will also continue to use larger, 60-foot articulated buses for trips on select lines in an effort to support social distancing. All other lines will keep following the enhanced Sunday schedule during weekdays, a measure that was instituted early in the pandemic.

There are no changes to the Metro Rail schedule, according to the transportation authority.

Riders must continue to board and exit buses through rear doors only. The front door will only be available to those who need the wheelchair ramp.

“Riders are not expected to use the fare box or TAP validator at the front of the bus but are reminded to always be in possession of fare during travel,” the news release states.

Starting early May, passengers on Metro trains and buses were required to wear face coverings to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“If you’re a daily rider, do your part: cover your face and help us all protect your life and the lives of everyone who critically depends on our transit system for essential rides,” city of Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Chair James Butts said when the order was announced.

Bus operators have also been using a transparent protective barrier to help them isolate from passengers.

Last week, a Metro bus driver died of complications from COVID-19, Los Angeles County officials said, marking the first virus-related death for the agency. The man last worked in mid-May, driving a route out of Division 13, across the street from Union Station.

A detailed schedule of services is available on the Metro website.

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