Survey finds most Metrolink riders are essential workers

News Wire Digest second section for May 8: Sound Transit projecting more than $600 million in losses; UP lays off workers in Palestine, Texas
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A Metrolink train arrives at Burbank in January 2020. A survey by Metrolink has found that 70% of those still using the commuter rail system classify themselves as essential workers.
TRAINS: David Lassen

More Friday morning rail news:

— Some 70% of riders using LA-area commuter railroad Metrolink classify themselves as “essential workers,” with more than half working in healthcare (39%) or transportation/logistics (14%), according to a survey by Metrolink of those still using the commuter system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just under a third — 32% — say they do not have a vehicle and rely on Metrolink to reach their jobs. Metrolink surveyed riders as part of its efforts to plan for a recovery plan when California’s stay-at-home order is lifted, and found that 81% of prior Metrolink riders not currently using the system plan to return, and that concerns about social distancing are the largest issue for those saying they will not return. It was cited by 72% of respondents. More detailed survey results are available here.

— Seattle-area agency Sound Transit is projecting $628.6 million in lost revenue because of the COVID-19 virus through 2021, and has joined other transit systems in seeking additional federal relief to help address those losses. The agency received $166 million in federal funds from the first coronavirus relief act passed by Congress, but Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff told KIRO-TV, “We’re certainly grateful for it but unfortunately Congress distributed [that] money based on a formula that really had no reflection of who was really impacted and who wasn’t.” Sound Transit has begun an assessment of planned construction projects to determine what it may or may not be able to deliver based on its decreased income. [See “Study places cost of restoring Vancouver Island rail line at up to $700 million,” News Wire Digest, April 29, 2020.]

— While a legal battle continues between the railroad and city over employment requirements, Union Pacific has furloughed four employees in Palestine, Texas, bringing to more than 30 the number of layoffs made in the central Texas community in the last year, the Palestine Herald-Press reports. A truck shop employee told the newspaper he and three other workers were furloughed on Thursday. UP filed suit in November to end a 150-year-old agreement with Palestine requiring it to maintain a shop facility and a certain number of jobs — 0.52 percent of its workforce — in Palestine [see “UP sues to end employment provision in Texas town,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 2, 2019]. The city and railroad are currently in a period of court-ordered mediation [see “News Wire Digest for Tuesday, March 3”].

 

 

 

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