Sheriff’s deputies increased patrols and surveillance of Blue and Green line trains earlier this month due to persistent complaints from riders about illegal vending of products aboard trains, as well as other violations of the code of conduct by passengers.
“Not only do we prevent the sale of any product, but also other activities that endanger the safety or welfare of passengers or do damage to facilities or Metro vehicles, such as smoking, eating, spitting, profanity, screaming, painting graffiti, scratched windows or seats,” said Capt. Daniel Cruz of the Sheriff’s Department, which patrols Metro Rail.
Cruz stressed that a zero-tolerance policy is being implemented toward anyone caught selling, damaging property or mistreating Metro passengers to ensure that all Metro customers enjoy a comfortable ride. Fines will be applied according to the severity of the offense.
The Sheriff reported that two arrests were made on April 14 of people who had been arrested on prior occasions — including one for selling DVDs.
Cruz said that more deputies will be used to patrol trains and that numerous signs have been installed about rules against selling goods on trains as well as eating, smoking and disturbing other passengers.
Many riders, however, continue to ignore these rules. On the Blue Line recently, a young mother was walking along the platforms of several stations selling boxes of chocolates. Asked if she knew this was illegal, the mother said: “I knew it was bad. I do it because it helps me with my children’s expenses, but I won’t do it anymore.”
Other passengers said that the conduct did not bother them. “I have no problem with people selling, provided it is not harmful things like drugs,” said Cecilio Serrano.
However, Sheriff’s Capt. Cruz, said that sales on trains and buses are prohibited because it is usually people who have no vendor’s license and because it opens the door for other criminal activities. “Besides being illegal competition for established businesses, we do not know if the products they sell may cause damage to your health,” he said. “So it’s best to prohibit this activity and prevent further damage.”
Cruz added that initially the Zero Tolerance Policy will be implemented in the Blue and Green Metro lines and then spread throughout the Metro train system.