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Metro Launches Operation: Better Ride with Increased Law Enforcement and Security Patrols on the Metro System

Staff Report

 The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is increasing law enforcement and security patrols on the Metro System starting this week to help improve the ridership experience for its transit customers.

            Metro security staff has increased patrols on the Metro Blue Line, boarding and riding trains departing from 7th Street/Metro Center and Long Beach Stations to check for compliance to Metro’s Code of Conduct. Law enforcement personnel will be focused on reducing customer complaints in key areas of conduct, including vending and solicitation, raucous, offensive behavior, loud music and taking up excessive space on trains, popularly known as “seat hogging.”

            Dubbed “Operation: Better Ride,” Metro’s law enforcement and security personnel will engage passengers in a friendly manner to ensure compliance with Metro’s passenger conduct rules.  The operation itself is designed to have as little impact to system patronage as possible.

            “These patrols will increase the felt presence of law enforcement on our system and help create better ridership experiences for everyone,” said John Fasana, Metro Board Chair and Mayor Pro Tem of the city of Duarte. “We want to ensure that all Metro customers can ride our system safely and securely 100 percent of the time. With the public’s cooperation, we can reach this important goal.”

            Metro plans to run the operation Monday through Saturday for five consecutive weeks.  The next patrol is planned for Monday, March 20. Deputies provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will board and ride Blue Line trains, traveling the same route between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach. Sheriff’s Department deputies or Metro security personnel will board each train set between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. the next day.

            Following these operations, Metro will evaluate the results to determine future deployments throughout the transit system. Metro periodically increases law enforcement and security staffing patrols on the Metro System. Previous surges in 2015 and 2016 have been conducted on the Metro Blue, Red, Expo and Green Lines.

            “While we start our patrols on the Metro Blue Line this week, we plan to rotate an increased law enforcement presence on all our rail lines and major bus hubs throughout L.A. County,” said Alex Wiggins, Chief Systems Security and Law Enforcement Officer at Metro. “This is just the beginning of a robust strategy to enhance customer courtesy, safety and security across our whole system.”

            Last month, the agency increased its collaboration with additional law enforcement agencies, forging new contracts with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department, and Long Beach Police Department to improve incident response times for Metro customers countywide.

            “Increased patrols complement actions Metro is already taking to keep safety our No. 1 priority,” said Phillip A Washington, Metro CEO. “Our law enforcement partners will be looking to correct typical problem behaviors that can often discourage people from riding Metro. We’re confident that addressing these issues head-on will help retain and attract new riders on our expanding transit system.”