Demonstrations again disrupt Metro service in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Massive protests tied to last week’s in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis once again disrupted public transportation service in Los Angeles today.

LA Metro officials said Tuesday that bus and rail routes were scheduled to operate on their regular schedule, but that changed in the afternoon after large crowds gathered in Hollywood, in downtown Los Angeles and in front of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s residence in Hancock Park.

At around 5 p.m., officials announced the following adjustments to Tuesday’s schedule:

— Blue Line trains are operating between Grand and downtown Long Beach. There is no train service into downtown LA at the request of LAPD.

— Expo Line trains are operating between 23rd and Downtown Santa Monica Station. There is no train service to Downtown LA at the request of LAPD.

— Red/Purple Line train will stop at Westlake/MacArthur Park Station and operate out of service to Union Station, bypassing 7th Metro, Pershing Square, Civic Center/Grand Park Stations in both directions at the request of LAPD.

— Red Line stations now being bypassed include Hollywood/Highland, Hollywood/Vine and Hollywood/Western.

— 7th Metro Center Station is closed to all rail service at the request of LAPD.

— Gold Line and Green Line trains are operating normally.

Riders were advised to check @metrolaalerts to stay updated.

The agency also issued a statement to explain its decision to suspend service Saturday night as violence raged in downtown Los Angeles.

“It was a rough weekend for our region, LA Metro and our riders. After the city of L.A. expanded its curfew citywide on Saturday night, Metro took the highly unusual step of suspending service systemwide at 8 p.m. to protect the safety of riders and employees,” the statement began.

“We’d like to explain our decision to suspend service Saturday and another issue that has been rightly questioned: the use of Metro buses by the LAPD to transport those who had been arrested.

“Both of these situations were criticized by riders and questioned by the media. On Sunday morning, we apologized to riders who were stranded, and we offered to reimburse them for expenses getting home.

“We stand by our decision to put public safety first. While suspending service was a very difficult decision to make, we believe it was the right one given the growing violence on the streets of our county — other transit agencies across the U.S. had to do likewise. The safety of our riders and our staff has been, and will continue to be, our number one priority. Always. On Saturday afternoon, a Metro bus was trapped in the Fairfax District among protest crowds, threatening the safety of our operator. The bus was vandalized extensively. We’ve had about 62 buses damaged, including many in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night. That, of course, impacts our ability to provide transit service to our customers.

“We also very much want to reiterate our apology to transit customers who were left stranded and for the delay in announcing that we were suspending service. Metro did reissue some buses to pick up stranded passengers in specific areas of L.A. and we sent Street Supervisors to various areas to patrol bus stops and notify riders that they needed to make other arrangements to get home. We understand that did not help all riders.

“It is an unfortunate and unintentional coincidence that service suspension occurred at the same time local law enforcement requested our agency to provide eight Metro buses to transport detainees that night. Metro is required by law to provide mutual aid in times of emergencies.

“We recognize the incongruent and unfortunate optics of this situation — taking transit services away from riders while providing our equipment for other purposes. We were asked to provide six buses tonight and we did so. We have asked authorities to exhaust their resources first before requesting our vehicles.

“It is not Metro’s choice to provide these buses. And to be clear about Saturday night: Metro’s decision to suspend service was based solely on public safety and had nothing to do with law enforcement’s request to utilize Metro buses to transport detainees. With the exceptions of some rolling detours and station closures, we ran our regular service Sunday and we’re doing so again today and tonight.”

Officials said that people who were able to get rides on Uber, Lyft or via taxi to replace a Metro trip are eligible for reimbursement if they have receipts. Patrons should contact Metro Customer Relations at 323-466-3876 for additional reimbursement information.

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