More Cuts Take Effect To Transit And Parks

All News KCBS Radio
March 30, 2020 - 6:53 am

There have been additional cuts to mass transit and public parks due to the coronavirus outbreak. Transit officials with several Bay Area agencies, confronted with plummeting ridership, have trimmed back rail service while parks officials in the East Bay, who've faced the opposite problem — large weekend crowds — have taken steps to discourage group gatherings.

On Monday, Muni began suspending its light-rail service and replacing it with buses. Muni will also be closing the stations at West Portal, Forest Hill, Castro, Church, and Van Ness, as well as the Muni portion of any downtown station shared with BART.

CalTrain cut service in half Friday with a total of 42 trains running, down from the usual 92.

Related: Answers To Your Coronavirus Questions

BART had already taken the steps to cut its hours and floated the idea at a recent board meeting of eliminating service on Sundays, but no decision was finalized.

Many East Bay Regional Park parking lots were closed to limit trail and recreational access beginning Friday. Places like the Tilden Regional Parks Botanical Garden, Sunol Regional Wilderness, and Castle Rock Recreation Area will also be closed entirely.

The actions coincided with signs that Bay Area officials are bracing for a sharp increase in coronavirus cases. 

In the South Bay, San Jose’s Deputy City Manager released a stark scenario of 2,000 deaths by June, even with 70% of the population adhering to strict safety protocols. That projection shoots up even higher to 8,000 deaths under low compliance. But the county’s emergency officials pushed back and quickly distanced themselves from those predictions, saying that they were never consulted.

AirBnb has also announced a push to get hosts to open their homes to house frontline medical staff working in a hospital setting.

“It can be a doctor, it can be a nurse, it can even be a custodian who is helping to keep a hospital or a medical facility clean.” said AirBnb spokesman Chris Lehane.

Lehane says the company has aided in disaster response before in the Bay Area, but never on a scale the size of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In Northern California, in and around the fires of the last several years, we’ve had thousands and thousands of hosts open up their homes to house both first responders as well as those who had lost their homes,” said Lehane. “We’ve never done this at a global scale.”