UPDATE, MAY 26: The Metro Board of Directors today voted to approve the proposed budget. Below is the earlier Source post on public safety initiatives in the budget.
Safety has been—and will continue to be—Metro’s top priority.
As we assembled our proposed $8.8-billion budget for the coming 2023 fiscal year, we kept safety at the forefront of our priorities. We’ve heard from plenty of riders, ex-riders and would-be riders that they want us to do more to address public safety and homelessness—and to do so with compassion.
The Metro Board of Directors will consider the proposed budget at its meeting this Thursday at 10 a.m. You can watch the livestream of the meeting here (the meeting will also be archived so you can watch later).
Among the public safety highlights in the proposed budget:
•We’re boosting funding for public safety by 12.5 percent over the current fiscal year.
•We’re expanding our Respect the Ride initiative that launched earlier this spring (see this Source post). The idea is simple: We’re working to improve safety and the customer experience on the Metro system. As part of Respect the Ride, our customers will see more Metro staff at stations to help riders navigate the system and quickly resolve issues involving homelessness and cleanliness. We’ve been expanding outreach teams to help unhoused individuals connect to social services, mental health resources, and shelters. Metro staff will be on site to show riders how to use Metro’s TransitWatch app for smartphones to quickly report safety issues to Metro security. Get the app here.
•Metro is also launching its new Transit Ambassador program that provides more staffed presence on Metro buses and trains and at stations. The Ambassadors will offer rider assistance, connect riders to info they need and help riders feel welcome and safe on our system. The program is modeled on a successful effort used by BART, the regional rail system in the Bay Area.
•Earlier this year, the Metro Board adopted a new Public Safety Mission recommended by the agency’s Public Safety Advisory Committee. As a result, we’ve modified our existing contracts with law enforcement agencies (the LAPD, the L.A. Sheriff’s Department and the Long Beach Police Department) to reflect a more community-centered approach to law enforcement.
•Our budget includes funding to expand security to the two rail projects scheduled to open during the upcoming fiscal year — the K Line (also known as the Crenshaw/LAX Line) and the Regional Connector that will tie together the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L (Gold) Lines for quicker trips to and through downtown L.A. We know that everyone is excited to ride and use our new lines to get around — and we’re working to ensure that we have trained security staff on hand to help riders navigate the system and to keep our new stations safe and in great shape from the get-go.
•Our proposed budget puts an emphasis on community outreach and building good relationships between riders and our security staff. As part of that, we’re launching a new “Children Travel Safe Campaign” to ensure all youth that ride our system — including students using our GoPass, which provides free transit to K-12 and community college students—ride safely. The campaign will push a series of messages to younger riders on how to have the safest ride possible, protect their belongings and say something if they see something. We want our newest riders to feel welcome and safe on Metro because first impressions matter!
•We’re also improving communications between our bus operators and security to reduce response times to incidents. In Metro Rail’s underground stations, we’re deploying new technologies to keep trespassers out of Metro’s tunnels — for their own safety and to reduce travel delays for all riders.