Reacting to criticism of a decision to halt bus and train service amid widespread large-scale demonstrations against police brutality on May 30, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted Thursday to develop policies regarding stopping service in an emergency.
Metro CEO Phillip Washington said the transportation agency was asked by the Los Angeles Police Department to suspend service late that afternoon, effective at 8 p.m.
“We do regret that some riders may not have gotten the word, and we have apologize for that,” Washington said.
“We did everything that we could to get the word out,” he said. “Also, we sent rescue buses out to … pick up stranded passengers. We patrolled various geographic area, and eventually, we pledged to reimburse people that were stranded for the loss of those rides we have since processed.”
The board voted to develop criteria for when suspending service is necessary and appropriate, and to have the criteria include measures to minimize disruptions by containing service suspensions to the affected transit lines whenever feasible and prudent.
The board also voted to review its policies regarding allowing police departments to use its buses for transporting people who have been detained.
“Our intent was in no way to prioritize assistance to local law enforcement over providing transportation services to the public,” Washington said. “In other words, we know how it looked, when it was not connected.”
Board members said they also want to develop ways to more effectively reach Spanish-speaking customers, among other non-English-native speakers, when service disruptions are announced.
Metro will seek ways to provide consistent service to the best of its ability during times of crises, according to board documents, and the CEO will verify that agencies requesting support for transport of detainees or law enforcement have depleted their own resources before requesting Metro resources.
The board also directed staff to develop a “customer toolkit” with information available during a service disruption.
During the protests that occurred the weekend of May 29-31, 63 Metro buses and “a lot” of security system cameras were damaged, Washington said, and some people were trapped on bus lines that were vandalized during the unrest.