LA Metro leaders say efforts underway to improve rider safety amid violent incidents

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Thursday, July 11, 2024 4:51AM
LA Metro leaders: Efforts underway to improve system safety
LA Metro leaders listed off ways the agency is trying to improve safety for riders and employees at the annual "state of the agency" address.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Concerns over public safety have recently plagued the LA Metro system, amid a number of highly publicized incidents that include stabbings and shootings.

Those issues took center stage Wednesday as the transit system's leaders delivered the annual "state of the agency" address.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is handing over the board chair position to county Supervisor Janice Hahn.

"My top priority as the new chair of the Metro board of directors is the safety of our riders and the safety of our employees," Hahn declared.

Bass noted that the agency has seen ridership increase every month for the last 18 months, nearly reaching the point of serving 1 million people every day.

And Hahn said the agency has also improved assistance to the homeless, with a Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority navigation center.

"For the first time when unhoused people have to leave our trains at the end of the line in the middle of the night, our homeless outreach teams have a place to take them where they can have a meal and a warm bed," Hahn said.

Safety remains top of mind for most Metro riders and employees. Fights, fatal stabbings and other brutal attacks have happened onboard Metro trains and buses in the last few months.

In June, the board voted to create the transit system's own police force, instead of relying on outside law enforcement agencies like the LAPD and sheriff's department. It will take about five years to develop and hire the police force.

In the meantime, there has already been an increased law enforcement presence, Hahn says.

"Now we have got 20% more officers riding our trains, riding our buses, and I'm already hearing from riders who have seen - many for the first time - law enforcement, uniformed officers riding their routes."

Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins says the public-safety goals don't just take into consideration everyday riders, but also the influx of visitors from around the world expected at several major upcoming events in Los Angeles, including the the 2026 World Cup, the 2027 Super Bowl and the 2028 Summer Olympics.