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Glendale buses running, offering free rides during coronavirus outbreak

Beeline buses, like this one traveling along Brand Boulevard, will continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic. Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said it's a "lifeline" for those who need to access essential services and have no other way to get around.
Beeline buses, like this one traveling along Brand Boulevard, will continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic. Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said it’s a “lifeline” for those who need to access essential services and have no other way to get around.
(File Photo)

Glendale’s local bus line will continue shuttling passengers throughout the city, even as stores close and services contract in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Rides on the Beeline will also be free through the end of April, city officials announced on Monday.

The bus serves as a “lifeline” for those who need to access essential services amid social-distancing requirements, Mayor Ara Najarian said on Tuesday.

“We still want people to stay home. That’s the most important message,” Najarian said. “But people still need to get to appointments, healthcare visits and to pick up food.”

In particular, seniors, the newly unemployed and healthcare employees who still need to go in to work still need a public transit option, he said.

Buses and trains continue to operate throughout Los Angeles County, but the fares on those lines remain in place, said Najarian, who sits on the Metro board.

Metro leaders are currently considering free rides at the urging of transit-advocacy groups, he said.

As of late last week, bus ridership in Los Angeles was down by more than 53%, according to Metro officials.

Najarian said Glendale’s line has seen a similar, and potentially greater drop, although he did not have statistics on hand.

As of now, Glendale’s local service remains unchanged.

Reduction of service on certain lines that have seen diminished use might be considered, with Najarian pointing to the line that services Glendale Community College as an example. Once one of the city’s busiest lines, its ridership has plummeted with the closure of the campus.

Officials in Glendale and throughout the county said they are enforcing social distancing on buses, as well as ramping up cleaning to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

“We are doing everything possible to maintain a healthy and safe system for our passengers and staff,” Glendale public works director Yazdan Emrani said in a statement.

Passengers are asked to board through the rear door to maintain a safe distance from the bus driver in both L.A. and Glendale. Riders also must sit at least 6 feet away from one another.

Buses are disinfected each night, according to Glendale officials. Frequently handled areas such as grab rails and pull cords are disinfected multiple times during the day.

Three Metro workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, county officials said Tuesday.

A maintenance worker in South Los Angeles was reported as having been infected following the news that two Metro-affiliated employees had tested positive.

Glendale has not announced any infections related to Beeline employees or riders.

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