The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority Wednesday announced new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, just hours after NBCLA aired an I-Team report exposing dangerous practices on LA area buses and trains that could lead to new infections.
"The most important thing we have to do after COVID-19, of course, is restore the public’s confidence in transit," Metro CEO Phillip Washington said Wednesday morning at a news conference where he unveiled the measures.
As the I-Team reported, at least 100 Metro drivers and workers have tested positive for the virus. Metro doesn't track infections among riders.
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To prevent more infections, Metro does require riders to wear masks. But day after day, the I-Team documented people on buses and trains with no masks.
The transit authority says it has handed out 6,000 masks to riders, but this it announced Wednesday that it was getting another 300,000 or so face coverings from the federal government to hand out over the summer.
Metro also said Wednesday it would soon start testing virus-killing ultraviolet lights that can be used on buses and trains. New York City's transit announced last month that it is spending $1 million for ultraviolet lamps to zap its subway cars and buses.
LA County's transit authority also said Wednesday it will experiment with applying a copper film to "high touch surfaces" on buses and trains.
"We’re looking at some opportunities to install what’s called “clean copper” on our buses that kills viruses very, very quickly," CEO Washington said Wednesday morning.
The new measures were met with cautious optimism by riders who've been tweeting about dangerous conditions on Metro buses.
"All these measures are great," Metro rider Pascual Di Raimondo told the I-Team. But he said they don't go far enough.
"What is important is to create a rule of one person per row, and no standing," Di Raimondo said. As the I-Team found, and as Di Raimondo has tweeted, there is often no social distancing on buses during rush hour.