CARSON (CBSLA) — The city of Carson announced it will suspend all municipal bus services beginning Saturday due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Carson Mayor Albert Robles mayor also called on other transit agencies to do the same.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have to make this decision, but it is necessary, and I implore the state and the L.A. County Metro board to join Carson in making the right decision and suspend all mass transit throughout the county in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” Robles said.
“It makes no sense that while experts say mass transit is a main vehicle for the spread of the virus that L.A. Metro continues to operate, because merely reducing the bus schedules is not enough, as all mass transit needs to be suspended immediately in order for our efforts at limiting the coronavirus pandemic to be successful.”
Robles said he recognizes that halting bus service will have impact people who rely on it but “the concern for the public health and safety of everyone, including all the bus riders, clearly outweighs the inconvenience this may cause some.”
The decision is a departure from other major transit systems in the Southland, which have continued operating.
Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington announced last Friday there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 linked to or contracted on an MTA bus or train, and no known cases reported among the agency’s nearly 11,000 employees.
Washington said while trains and buses will continue to run, Metro will be making several operating changes, including providing masks and gloves to operators, custodial teams and security personnel.
Sanitation stations and hand sanitizer dispensers will also be installed at all major transit hubs for riders to use, and possibly at some point, they will install onboard vehicles.
“We have no plans to shut down public transit,” said Washington. “We are operating with caution, but not from a position of fear. We will get through this together.”
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) also announced similar measures that began on March 23 after seeing a more than 50 percent drop in ridership over the past two weeks.
Officials said there were 61,000 boardings on March 18, compared to a typical average weekday of 125,000.
In response, OCTA reduced bus service to the Sunday service schedule – which is about 40 percent of the typical amount of weekday bus service – seven days a week.
Carson’s decision will not affect Dial-A-Ride or ACCESS Paratransit services.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)