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MTA reports driver at Carson facility tested positive for Coronavirus and drivers report they feel unsafe. City is seeking to contract services from Lyft ride services to provide subsidized transportation for city residents as alternative

Carson Mayor Albert Robles

CARSON, Calif. – APRIL 2, 2020 – – Mayor Albert Robles and the City Council of the City of Carson today demanded LA METRO temporarily suspend mass transit services effective immediately in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). While the suspension of service will certainly affect the daily commute and transportation needs of many riders, many who are from working families or the most vulnerable, e.g., senior citizens or economically disadvantaged, the benefits of eliminating exposure and minimizing the spread of COVID-19 will be lifesaving and a paramount priority.

“We are in the midst of a health emergency that is unprecedented and dealing with a virus that is unpredictable, and we can’t afford to create opportunities for this virus to spread,” said Mayor Albert Robles. “We are particularly concerned about senior citizens, economically disadvantaged individuals and the racial/ethnic minority communities that make up the greatest number of riders on the LA METRO system.
They have every right to be in a safe and healthy environment, and unless LA METRO can do the impossible and do a deep disinfecting cleaning that sterilizes after each and every passenger or can guarantee that no passenger, or LA METRO operator/employee, will get infected to then pass-on the disease to their loved ones, neighbors, friends or colleagues, all mass transit must stop.”
Carson Mayor Robles summed up his concern by stating, “I would rather say ‘sorry for the inconvenience’, than ‘sorry for your loss.’”
The demand for the suspension of mass transit services was heightened in critical importance by the fact that LA METRO this week reported that one of its drivers located at its Carson facility tested positive for COVID-19 and drivers at that facility report they feel unsafe due to the unavailability of hand sanitizer and inadequate personal protective equipment issued at that facility.
To support the demand for shutting down public transit services to protect the community, last week, Carson made the difficult decision to suspend local bus services effective last Saturday, March 28, and until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City’s decision was made to protect the health and well-being of the public and specifically to slow the community spread of COVID-19.
To minimize the impact to Carson residents, the City is currently negotiating with ridesharing company, Lyft, to provide subsidized transportation within the city limits. Under the contract, Lyft will provide the City of Carson with a code for residents to enter into the Lyft app. By entering this code, residents would get 50 percent off the cost of their ride that begins and ends in Carson up to a maximum subsidy of $10.
“Meeting the transportation needs of our residents, while keeping everyone safe is a priority for the City of Carson. The City is proud to provide this alternative transportation mode through Lyft that will be available to all residents,” Robles continued. This program is only possible due to a generous grant from AQMD and the cooperation of LA METRO.
Dial-A-Ride and Access services will remain in operation and will be unaffected by this scheduled bus service suspension. As the Dial-A-Ride and Access programs are limited to participants 60 years of age or older, and participants with disabilities, the City sought additional transportation options for residents who may not qualify for these programs.
The City of Carson is the first city in the South Bay area to sign such an agreement with a ride-share company to ensure a program that all its residents can avail for transportation, and one of only a handful throughout the state. For more information on this service, please call the Transportation Division at (310) 952-1757 or for any other assistance during this COVID-19 situation, please call (310) 952-1750.
Additionally, the City Council will consider a motion next week to require all residents to wear protective masks while out in public with the intent of protecting public safety and limiting the spread of this unpredictable virus.
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