L.A. Metro begins “hybrid service package” to operate bus and rail lines

March 23, 2020
With ridership down about 60 percent, L.A. Metro is adjusting schedules to reflect the reality of demand while preserving service and safety.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Chief Executive Officer Phillip A. Washington outlined a series of service adjustments L.A. Metro will implement to account for a 50-60 percent decline in ridership on March 20. Washington also reassured riders that despite the dire situation, the system will continue to operate.  

California was on a growing list of states to enact a “stay at home” order, which went into effect on March 19, but still allows essential services, such as public transit, to operate. While L.A. Metro rail and bus services will continue to run, some schedules will be adjusted to reflect the reality of the decline in ridership. L.A. Metro is calling the service its “hybrid service package.”

L.A. Metro is the third busiest transit system in the United States and operates in the nation’s most populace county. In February, the system’s average weekday boardings was 1.2 million. The agency says ridership is 50 to 60 percent lower, but it still posted more than 550,000 daily boardings on both March 16 and March 17.

Washington told reporters during an online press briefing on March 20 that the system has excess capacity because people are staying home, as they have been instructed to do, but with the decline in ridership, service will be adjusted and reflect a 15-20 percent reduction on bus routes with a similar reduction will occur on rail lines.

“I want to assure the public and Metro employees that we are doing everything possible to maintain a healthy and safe system for our customers who rely heavily on Metro buses and trains as their lifeline to get where they need to go throughout L.A. County,” said Washington.

Financially, Washington says the agency is preparing to take a hit and says officials are looking into what the exact numbers will be. Those numbers will be shared once they are known.

On the possibility of waiving fares on the system, Washington says it is not a recommendation he would make at this time and notes waiving fares could exacerbate the financial stress the agency is under. Additional information about LA Metro’s service adjustments and efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 are available at www.metro.net.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.