Our approach to the issue of homeless riders on the Metro system

Of the most vexing challenges facing Metro, none is as difficult as the issue of the number of homeless using our system as shelter.

The frustration among our riders about the unhoused is palpable. Look at Metro’s social media streams on any given day. The feedback we get covers a wide range — from compassion to those who want us to kick the homeless off the system. In our most recent customer survey, rail riders listed homelessness as one of the top issues they want Metro to address.

Metro, in fact, has been working on a number of fronts for several years to address the issue of unhoused persons sheltering on our system — including everything from outreach to security. There are more specifics below. The fact that problems persist, we think, testifies to the size and complexity of the problem.

First, some context. Homelessness, of course, is a societal problem across the United States. In recent years, major cities on the West Coast have been hit especially hard, in part due to our mild climate, court rulings, and the dearth of affordable housing.

Southern California is the most populous region in the western U.S. and, not surprisingly, we’re regarded as ground zero for homelessness. Counts of the number of homeless individuals — to the degree that they are accurate — indicate that Los Angeles County alone has more than 69,000 homeless, a four percent increase from 2020.

We’ve tried to get a handle on the number of homeless on our system at any given time — but getting a number that we’re confident in has been elusive, in part because the Metro system is not included in Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s annual point-in-time homeless count.

On top of soaring housing costs and inflation, our region also suffers from a keen lack of supportive housing. That makes it even more difficult for people on the street to transition to long-term housing.

In other words, homelessness in our region is a vicious circle. We know that over the past few years there are far too many people, especially late at night and early in the morning, using our system as a place to sleep, to shelter, and to do other things that the housed have the privilege of doing in the privacy of their own homes.   

This is a problem for Metro — first and foremost, we’re a transit agency. Our system is for helping people get around. Our stations and vehicles were not built to be used as shelters, nor are they safe for these uses. The bulk of our funding is used for the kind of things you’d expect: staffing and operating the nation’s second-busiest transit system with more than 2,200 buses, seven rail lines covering 100+ miles and maintaining stations, bus yards, rail yards and other key facilities.

This is exactly why we welcome a recent motion approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors that said the county will take a greater role in helping Metro deal with homelessness. That could mean the County taking over the outreach team efforts on our system. The County and Metro will also explore installing 24-hour-a-day ‘navigation hubs’ on our system to supply social services. We’re grateful for the County’s help as homelessness is an issue that transcends our system and city boundaries.

As mentioned above, we understand that there is a perception by some that Metro is doing nothing — we want to emphasize this is not the case. Our agency’s Board of Directors approved Metro’s first Homeless Outreach Plan in 2017 and that has since guided our efforts. Most agencies do not have such a plan.

Some of Metro’s key homelessness programs include:

A PATH outreach worker talks to a rider during the pandemic.

•Homeless outreach teams that roam our transit system seven days a week. We contract for this work with PATH, a nonprofit established in 2017. PATH has teams deployed every weekday from 3 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekends. Over the past two fiscal years, the outreach teams helped 1,485 people attain interim housing and found permanent housing for 391 people. In that span, we helped almost 6,700 people.

•In May, Metro announced its partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) for LACDMH to test comprehensive crisis response services to individuals experiencing mental health crises while onboard Metro vehicles or at Metro stations.

•Our budget funds three positions at Metro just to deal with homelessness issues — and these positions report to our CEO’s office — a sign of how seriously we’re taking the issue of homelessness on the system. 

•Our joint development policy was updated by the Metro Board in 2021 to put a stronger emphasis on creating affordable housing. This is housing built by developers on Metro property (usually left over from construction of transit projects).

•This new staff report to the Metro Board has more details about what we’re doing for those who want greater detail.

Finally, we want to acknowledge there has been a lot of public discussion about Metro’s end-of-the-line service protocol lately — particularly in Long Beach, where all riders, including the unhoused, are required to deboard the train.

We want to add important context to this issue. Every night, at the end of the service, we ask all riders to leave trains before the trains return to our various rail yards for nightly cleaning and maintenance. This as common transit practice that we have done for many years for the safety of our employees and customers. Our rail yards are NOT safe places for riders to be spending the night.

The concern — and it’s a legitimate one — is that service for our rail lines ends between midnight and 1 a.m. and social service providers aren’t typically open during those hours. For this reason, the Metro Board approved a motion at its meeting last Thursday to determine how many unhoused people are getting off trains at night, boarding the following morning and what Metro may be able to do differently. Many members said it’s an urgent issue requiring cooperation between the county, local cities and Metro (you can watch/listen to a recording of the discussion here).

As our CEO Stephanie Wiggins has often said, we very much want everyone in our region to be comfortable taking the Metro system. We know that’s not the case as we try to rebuild ridership.

We do want you to know that we’re working hard to solve tough problems — and that we do not accept the status quo. Coordination between L.A. County and local cities with Metro is critical.

Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. We appreciate your feedback.

53 replies

  1. Anyone complaining that the “woke mob” wants Metro to get into the “social justice warrior” space: completely untrue. NOBODY is asking Metro to save the homeless. NOBODY wants Metro to prioritize homeless passengers over paying commuters. NOBODY believes this ridiculous distraction is making the rider experience any better.

    EVERYBODY (of every political mindset) is asking Metro to save this system before all of its paying passengers stop using it completely. That mass exodus, especially after dark (and the Red Line most of the day) is already in progress. One week into Standard Time and it’s scarier than ever on these train lines.

    Quit trying to be so “thoughtful” and “intentional” with your homeless strategy — and start applying fair and equal rules for all passengers. You are in the transportation business, after all. Starting with fare enforcement to enter stations and vehicles. Starting with actual, capable, trained safety officers. Starting with relentless cleaning and sanitation.

    It is not enough to simply say “oh, we’re helpless to stop the actions of our passengers.” If there is any helplessness, you have chosen this for yourself. The Metro Watch app is a joke: it’s about as useful as pulling the alarm on a Metro train: nothing happens and nobody cares.

    Step it up, Metro. All the expansion lines in the world don’t matter to someone literally fearing for their life onboard.

  2. I ride the Metro and use public transportation whenever and wherever I can. Unfortunately it has become a rolling homeless encampment / mental institution.
    You clearly need to control access to the platforms to allow paying customers only, like every other system on earth. This relatively small investment will pay off in short order through increased revenue and ridership. The current wide open system is literally an invitation for abuse.

  3. They are not homeless. They are freeloaders. They would reject housing if offered it and they are master manipulators who prey on people’s kind hearts. They take drugs, drink and get it all paid for by people who feel sorry for them. Lock them up in a treatment facility indefinitely and get them off the streets that way.

  4. I commute on Metro buses 5 days a week to/from my job. I am so tired of fare-beaters, including the homeless. I don’t know why I bother paying for my monthly bus pass when so many just ignore and the drivers don’t enforce anything. Years ago, I used to see drivers refuse to let people ride who didn’t have fare. When did the policy change?
    I agree with many others here about fare enforcement. That would do much to solve the problem. Also, since when has it been OK for able-bodied homeless with wheelchairs loaded with crap to take over spaces designated for the disabled? I feel very angry for those disabled riders unable to board the bus because of this.

  5. I lived on the streets of Los Angeles for nine months in 2014. What was a hellish experience eight years ago is much worse now, I’m sure. During those nine months, I mastered the art of homelessness. I kept myself clean and groomed, I did not stink. And yes, I rode buses and trains for shelter, because it was the only safe place available!
    I was rescued from homelessness by a kind and generous stranger, we first came into contact with one another on a dating website (I was using library computers every day). I lived in this person’s home for four months, got myself back in the normal world. Our relationship failed after four months, and I had to move out. But by that time, I had a phone, a car, and a bank account. And I had an income.
    I was very lucky.

  6. The answer is quite simple. The only point of Metro is to get paying customers from point A to point B. There is no need to spend money on outreach and other things that the county and city should be doing. Enforce the fares, increase police presence and kick off the crackheads and homeless who shit and destroy the trains and busses. Please dont try to be social justice warriors or homeless advocates and stop listening to the woke mob

  7. Fare enforcement seems to be on all commenters mind. Buses have kind of a fare enforcement because there’s the bus driver. Trains do not have anything. Just make the turnstiles impenetrable like in many other cities around the world. Some scofflaws will get on no matter what but the majority of undesirable passengers will be kept out.

  8. Fare enforcement is absolutely necessary along with heavy and visible police pressure. Visiting other countries in the world and using their metro systems is night and day from our open air insane asylum here in LA County. It’s an embarrassment at best and dangerous at worst. FARE ENFORCEMENT. Say it with me. FARE ENFORCEMENT.

  9. It has gotten Worst on Metro Rail & Busses, the Homeless/Unhoused are the Major Problem.

    The A, B & D Lines are Major Problems with Homeless/Unhoused, they Sleep on the Trains until they go out of Service, take up Seats, Smell, Bring Bed Bugs & Trash, it’s Very Annoying & Frustrating.

    The Mentality Ill are the Worst…

    They Yell, Scream, Scare Passengers, Kick Walls, Windows & Doors of Rail Cars, take off their Clothes, Either on the Rail Cars, Platform Stations & Stations, in View of Women & Children.

    The Trash is another Problem, at Platform Stations People Leave their Trash at the Stations, or throw them on the Tracks, which brings out Rodents & it’s a Problem on the Trains also!

    Fare Evasion is a Major Problem also, but I won’t get into that!

    &… also People bring their Damn Dogs on the Trains, Half are Pit Bull, or other Dangerous Dogs, that aren’t Service Dogs!

    It’s just the Many Problems on Metro, that the Cops Patroling have a Hands Off Approach towards Law Breakers!

    Anyway… I’m done Posting!

  10. Every one is talking about the homeless and mentally I’ll. What about the citizens that commute every day to work, early in the morning the homeless have taken over the seats on the trains and metro buses. Let alone there hygiene and mental status. The drug use an camping in the elevator and human waste. No security or police visible on our commute. Please address that issue.

  11. Metro needs to run 24 hour service, for there will not be a need to dump homeless people on anyone’s neighborhood, as a Metro rail operator who’s been working for 20 years I know how difficult it is for people to have to be thrown out at midnight to the cold and dangerous streets of LA, whether is Long Beach or Azusa or downtown LA. It is time for Metro to do the right thing and keep the service 24 hours. All night trains can be recovered in the morning when more service is available.

  12. Quote From Metro Staff in the above statement

    “•Our budget funds three positions at Metro just to deal with homelessness issues — and these positions report to our CEO’s office — a sign of how seriously we’re taking the issue of homelessness on the system. ”

    If anyone at The Source or Metro really and honestly cared about solving the issue, they would realize that these 3 positions are utterly devoid of anything that resembles competence or wherewithal to handle this problem. These are just 3 people getting a paycheck while the public has the same soul crushing complaints about Metro that they have had for literally Years. Metro can’t get anything done right.

    *The Public wants more cops/security on trains and stations. Metro won’t do it
    *People want fare enforcement. Metro wants a basically free system and yet cannot explain how that enhances security
    *Readers here at the Source have again and again (and again for years) complained about the Wild West atmosphere and lawlessness they have seen on Trains and buses. As the time of the day approaches the Midnight Hour, it only gets worse.

    *Of course there are few if any Police, security or even Metro Employees around to witness this behavior because Metro themselves make sure Police and employees are tucked into bed at night and will not fund the numbers of people to actually Staff the system.

    I could continue with this list of shame for Metro, but I have taken enough time and Metro doesn’t care. Otherwise they would implement and fund the ideas for actually dealing with this properly instead of burying their heads.

  13. It’s dangerous to ride metro. Three weeks ago in a totally unprovoked attack, a mentally ill person hit me in the face as I was on my phone (I was riding the E line and it was between 9:20 and 9:40 pm). I requested the video from Metro, and will make a report with LAPD once I get it. At the time I couldn’t wait to make a report because I was told that I would have to wait at the station for an hour or more for a police response, and I had to get home to my dog after a long day at work.
    This week, I saw two fights on Metro which were both at the 7th Street Metro station: (1) 10/31/22, 4:00 pm, 7th; and (2) 11/4/22 9:00 am.  When Metro security attempted to break up the second fight the guy attempted to attack the Metro security officer with his dog.  He actually ran away and then came back to attack him with his dog. With a crowd of people around, the Metro Security Officer had to pepper spray him. Prior to the fight, the two who got in the fight were loitering at the far end of the platform.  
    Also, smoking has been normalized on the train. There is a man who regularly sales single cigarettes at the 7th Street Metro. He stands on the bottom platform with a bag of smokes and yells out “Camel, Marlboro, Newport., single cigarettes” to passengers coming and going. He’s been doing this openly for months. I’ve reported it to security but nothing changes. Smoking has been so normalized that every other time I ride the train, there is someone smoking. It’s not good for anyone’s healthy to have to regularly breath that stuff, and my partner refuses to ride the train because of it.
    By not enforcing fares or rules, Metro has created this dangerous and unhealthy environment and continues to allow it to occur. 

    I also have photos and videos of people shooting up and smoking from meth pipes. I usually try to take photos anymore because once when I was taking a photo of person smoking meth, a man approached me with a clenched fist and asked me “What are doing?!”  As I walked away, he shook his head at me like I was the one with the problem for documenting the open meth smoking at the 7th Street Metro station. But I have the photos and videos. I used to upload them to the Metro reporting site, but I think Metro disabled that feature for the reporting because it doesn’t work on my phone anymore.
    Metro–you created this horrible environment and have responsibility to fix it.  If you ever want your ridership to come back, you are going to have to make substantive changes, or it is going to continue to get worse and people will be needlessly endangered. Obviously, there are people who need help but riding the Metro is not the answer for them, and having them use it as a shelter is delaying the help that can actually improve their life.

  14. Fare enforcement and clear the trains at the ends of the lines. and while the trains empty, have a cleaning crew sweep, mop, and wipe the trains before allowing passengers to board.

    Also, have a station attendant at every station

    • Another vote for fare enforcement.

      Some recent antidotes: I ride the L line to work most days and have been in three legitimate physical altercations (over the last 18 months) where I or I with others had to restrain an individual because they were attacking me or others. A fourth incident involved me getting up at my stop to see the person behind me playing with a knife, very close to where my neck was in front of him. I no longer sit unless my back is to a wall. Be careful out there everyone!

  15. Metro – please go read the top post on LA Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/LosAngeles/comments/ykv04e/metro_if_you_are_reading_this_something_has_to/

    This system is UNSAFE. I have ridden systems up and down California. San Diego, SF with Bart, SacRT.

    These systems also have homeless but it is no where near the insane scale that Metro has. Plus all the violence. There is so much violence in LA Metro.

    Ridership is dropping like flies and I am not riding UNTIL THE BOARD OF METRO CARES.

    1. They enforce fares
    2. They have local law dnrocfenenr and police security
    3. They clean cars more frequently. (The red line is a trash bin)

    Please enforce fares.

  16. “As mentioned above, we understand that there is a perception by some that Metro is doing nothing — we want to emphasize this is not the case. Our agency’s Board of Directors approved Metro’s first Homeless Outreach Plan in 2017 and that has since guided our efforts. Most agencies do not have such a plan.”

    What year are we in? How is that plan working out for you?

    Why can’t Metro just have zero-tolerance fare enforcement policy? If you don’t have validated tap card or fare, you must leave the bus or train, and the respective stop, or station. This works for Metrolink (where the current CEO came from) and transit systems all over the world. As other commenters have stated, why is is this difficult for Metro to understand?

    Just kidding, Metro would rather virtue signal with a PR piece and another meaningless study rather than do something of substance.

    You guys should open the All Hands Meeting with the CEO to the public. The cringey music and dancing would come to a stop when you have to answer to your riders.

  17. *yawn* actions speak louder than words.

    And here you guys are with the nerve of actually further reducing fares. You guys are literally doing your absolute best to make your Farebox recovery ratio to Zero. Again, I’ll echo what others have said out here, FARE ENFORCEMENT!! Oddly enough, I actually encounter a homeless person out here in the suburbs of Tokyo.

    But what was different? they had only one bag less than the size of a carry on and THEIR FARE WAS PAID FOR!!!
    Metro, you can literally throw any excuse you want, but as you just said, you are a transit agency, your job is to keep the system running and enforce the rules, not to be “sympathetic.” Sorry, this may come off as insensitive to some people but that is the truth. Solving or even helping with homelessness is not Metro’s business, PERIOD!!

    But I also acknowledge that this problem is beyond Metro. This country has been using buses and trains to literally put the homeless problem under the rug since the Mid-1980s so it doesn’t surprise me that this is what the peak is now. Non-related note, this is also why a TAP card can’t be used outside the county. There is literally no national level co-op as to how to handle anything Transit related. That right there is a HUGE problem alone

    But I digress, Metro can, for the time being take the following action immediately (and by that I mean 2 weeks ago) by A) Finally increasing fares (preferably distance based fares on trains), once and for all!! and B) Immediately (again, 2 months ago Metro), start enforcing fare and other rules, and actually handling $250 fines (It’s amazing that people are actually smoking on trains now, but yet somehow not surprising at the same time). Spare me the sob excuse of “some people can’t afford such a fine,” cause A) we all know the consequences and B) this would push city leaders to actually SOLVE the problem that people are facing if one cannot even afford $1.75 to ride transit.

    You know what, oddly enough, distance based fares would actually solve most of the fare evasion problem as people would need to TAP out.

  18. No more subway or light rail until an improvement. Last time I road Metro was late at night after an USC game and even being with 2 other guys, it was unnerving. Even Metrolink is having problems- look at their train delay notices and how many of them are caused by “unruly passengers” as their website calls it.
    All the money spent to build us a decent transit system and now its becoming unusable.

  19. “The concern — and it’s a legitimate one — is that service for our rail lines ends between midnight and 1 a.m. and social service providers aren’t typically open during those hours”
    You have the answer right in front of you. Clear the trains ALL DAY at the end of EACH LINE and more people will reach services during business hours. What is wrong with you? Why is this so hard to grasp.

    • My main concern about the homeless on board is the chances of someone getting attacked, especially at night when security onboard is nonexistent! If you can put more security & fare inspectors onboard & at stations that are ACTUALLY doing their jobs, that would create a MUCH bigger impact & more people would be back taking public transit instead of being forced to give it all up.

      Back then I had no problems with the homeless after all of those complaints I have seen since last year.

  20. The comments section of this article is littered with a single plea from your loyal customer base that wants to continue to utilize your public service. Fare enforcement.

    Every time you write one of these articles people ask Metro for one thing to combat this problem. It sure isn’t a bunch of staff standing around at only the hub stations. Its fare enforcement.

    People remember pre-covid metro. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t overrun with homeless. Because (say it with me now) Fare enforcement.

    • Everyone is begging Metro to do the exact same thing. It’s so infuriating that all of us riders recognize the solution but the Metro board will ignore it or maybe take 10 years to study it and come to the same conclusion. They never actually ride the system they govern, so maybe they should pay attention to the riders who frequent this blog because we actually care about making the system better for everyone. Please listen to us!

      • Asked Metro to explain why #212 traveling north up La Brea to Hollywood Blvd now terminates at Hollywood and Highland versus going all the way to Argyle (Red Line station) as before. Of course I did NOT get a reply.

        This is so inconvenient for passengers who need to go further as they must transfer to #217 in front of McDonald’s.

        Not only is this intersection busy with traffic and all crossing..One must factor in the movie studios closing off Hollywood Blvd from La Brea to Highland for openings, etc. so bus is then is re-routed along Sunset and then goes up Highland to Hollywood Blvd where we must get off and catch the 217..

        Metro took away Rapid bus 780 along Fairfax and to Pasadena.. And now 212 route is cut short. What else does this agency have in mind to further erode travel in Hollywood…

        BTW: The only good thing they did was to extend 217 line all the way to Vermont so now I do not have to get off on Argyle to catch the 180 to my stop at Bronson and Hollywood Blvd.. I’m sure they will CUT this service in the future as part of the Next Gen whatever..

    • They had for a short while “fare enforcement”. With about 10 officers at union station turn styles by the subway platforms. They were turning people around that couldn’t pay the fare and then checking tap cards on passengers leaving the platform. Sadly this program failed because you have all your officers at one entrance/exit, nobody actually on the trains and most importantly, officers at no other stations enforcing the fares. One officer at each entrance/exit, two walking the platform, boarding trains checking fares, citing people for smoking and doing drugs, waking people up. A supervisor going from platform to platform enforcing minimum standards. It’s a huge undertaking. But it is necessary.

  21. Also, since when are people allowed to bring dogs (apparently not service dogs) on board trains and buses? Every time when I see that happens on the bus I am riding, the bus operator does NOT stop them from doing that, and even in a way encourage them by petting those animals. Hello!!

  22. hi steve no homeless peoples allow on busses and trains they have covid 19 viruses they are sick peoples get them off busses and trains now if you dont not we go to back to lockdown shutdown strikes again. ps about the 20 billion dollar hrt on wsab elevated line and 40 billion dallor hrt sepulveda line.

  23. When is Metro going to resume late night service on the weekends? It is not safe taking the buses from downtown to North Hollywood. Taking the Subway is not exactly safe either but its less time of having to be out. GET IT TOGETHER!!!!!!!

  24. Coming back from Santa Monica and arriving at 7th St Metro station bet 9:30/10:00pm after being held up with a service delay I boarded the Red Line to Hollywood. Car I got on had all homeless in various stages of mental illness. Thought I entered an episode of the Twilight Zone. Only thing missing was Rod Serling..Jumped to another one at next stop.Better. But not by much..So will never travel past 7pm and even then it’s bad..

  25. My wife and I used to ride Metro everyday to commute for efficiency, for economical austerity and to reduce our carbon footprint. Unfortunately due to homeless accosting us on the system in the last two years we have given up on Metro due to our safety concerns, it is a real possibility that you may be physically harmed or die by merely trying to commute to work! Until you change your tactics and prioritize law abiding tax paying ecologically conscience riders over scofflaw non tax paying abusive and dangerous un-housed you will never get back to normal ridership numbers. Why is this such a difficult problem for Metro to understand?

  26. I was completely disgusted and frankly a little afraid for my safety last night when I got off work and took the train home instead of taking an uber (like I did to go to work). At 10pm, I “befriended” the one other non-homeless person that got on in my car and we were each other’s emotional support when multiple homeless and mentally-ill people approached us. Someone lit a cigarette on the train, I saw someone openly smoking meth at McArthur Park and Vermont/Beverly stations, and frankly, I considered getting off the train and just catching an uber to my house near Hollywood & Highland. It was a really, really, really terrible experience. I doubt Ill be taking the train anytime soon.

  27. I appreciate this update on the steps Metro is taking. I am a business commuter and I have stopped taking the Metro, unless I absolutely can’t avoid it, for the reasons listed in this article. It doesn’t feel safe, and it’s often not clean. I hope to hear of positive progress towards the goal of bringing the Metro back to what it should be — a simple and straightforward method of transportation around LA.

    • For the people suggesting fare enforcement as the primary solution, what you’re talking about is essentially impossible, as it would require officers to staff the entrances and exits to each station at all hours. (It isn’t hard to hop a turnstile, or to keep walking after the machine says you have no remaining balance, so you’re talking about having to staff station entrances at all times.)

      It would be incredibly expensive for Metro and, like it or not, making traveling Metro more expensive for riders through fare enforcement will just make working class people look for other means of transportation.

      A better solution would be to have more security on board who can escort people off who are obviously making a scene or causing problems. Same with the stations.

      But enforcing a $1.70 fee is not going to keep homeless off the trains.

      • Which is why the fare is LONG overdue for an increase. In 2009, the farebox recovery rate was between 25-33%, but as of 2020 it’s only 10%, that right there, what you just said is another reason why it’s essentially impossible to even have the appropriate policing to begin. People make literally every excuse to not raise the fare but yet continue to complain about the crippling of the system because of lack of funding. People just expect the money to appear.

        Think about it, free 20 rides every month, free rides on election days, free rides on “public transit day,” free public transit on X-Mas and New Years Eve, reducing cost of monthly pass, fare capping, Metro is literally doing everything possible to make transit free is this is the end result, lack of enforcement. People kept saying that the fare is too high and that further increases would result in lower ridership yet now that illegal immigrants are allowed to apply for driver’s licenses and the homeless has gotten beyond controllable levels that the low fare is literally not even a thought when riding the system, so if this the counter argument then I say raise the fare to at least $2.50 immediately and $3.25 on express buses and trains. Match this with other parts of the country and now you can be able to afford to have more security at station entrances.

        Any other country would look at this and be like “why is the system free on days where it isn’t needed?” Free on Election Day? At that point that’s less of “I couldn’t afford train fare” and more of just outright not caring, but that’s a different subject.

        Yes, transit should be subsidized for those who ABSOLUTELY NEED IT!!! But as others are saying, Metro is not a welfare agency. More AFFORDABLE housing, 25-50% subsidized rents for those right on the verge of homelessness to prevent the issue from getting worse, true mental health assistance, drug recovery assistance, all this that Metro is not in charge of, is what is needed, not a transit agency becoming a shelter.

  28. Your concern for the plight of the homeless of LA County is indeed admirable. That said, you are not first and foremost a social welfare agency (of which this state, county, and city have plenty already). What you are (or should be) is an agency devoted to providing safe, effective, clean, affordable, and sustainable mass transit solutions for a city that desperately needs them. Put simply – reliably move commuters from Point A to Point B. That’s it. Now, admittedly, this is not an easy task on a day-to-day basis. But it starts with very simple steps – lock turnstiles, staff stations, enforce fare payment, keep trains and stations clean and safe. This is hardly rocket science. It just takes the will to do it. The means is also there – between your annual budget and the money that fares provide (and could provide, if their payment were actually enforced), you’d have plenty of working capital to set out on your mission. Please reevaluate your priorities, and serve the community that should be your primary focus – that is, riders that need to get from one part of the city to another.

  29. Thanks for covering this issue. Question: are Transit Police kicking off riders /homeless at the end of the line, or just at the end of the day? I hope it’s the former.

    • At the end of the day. After 7pm, it’s not surprising seeing the homeless literally be sleeping up and down those trains until closing time when there are forced out at 1am. It’s sad really because that I do understand is BEYOND Metro’s control but this could be resolved by at least forcing everyone off at the end of the line and actually exit the turnstiles, not just off the train where one can wait at the platform for the next train and repeat.

      It’s obvious the system is now on autopilot and Metro has given up on trying to a system that is subpar at best. It’s funny cause I’m at a place where public transit is proud seen as a utility for all to benefit and even prosper from, not some third class utility for “the poor,” and a manipulative tactic to stay in power by gaining the trust of “the poor,” but hey what do I know I guess.

      Until the government sees Public Transit as infrastructure equally or even more important than the automobile, this will be the end result.

  30. I agree that rail yards are NOT safe places for riders to be spending the night AND Metro trains are not safe places for sleeping, smoking or loitering. Metro should be clearing the trains at both ends of the lines ALL Day so that it is not such a huge issue at night.

  31. I ride the A line daily and I believe that the issue can be simply resolved by resuming fare enforcement. I don’t have a problem with the unhoused people on the trains but it becomes unbearable when they are walking down the aisle screaming at passengers, passed out on the floor, or smoking crack and weed in the trains all day. And some of them get offended if I walk away from them while they whip out their blunt and lighter. I just want to ride my train in peace and for others to feel safe

    The other day on the C line at 11pm, a woman boarded the train at Aviation Station with luggage and said to someone on the phone, “what the f… I feel like I just walked into an insane asylum.” I was embarrassed for Metro.

    Having metro security, cops and ambassadors stand around at stations does little to improve the experience of riding the trains. Recently observed a man on my train screaming and banging the railings while metro security just observed on the platform at 7th St. The man stayed on board until Willowbrook. Metro would be better off saving the money and canceling the security contracts..

    Other west coast cities like Portland and SF with high homeless populations are able to keep their trains clean by simply enforcing fares.

    I’ve always been a strong believer in Metro and paying my fare but I’ve started a fare strike until Metro resumes fare enforcement.
    Why bother paying a system that neglects its paying passengers?

    • “Other west coast cities like Portland and SF with high homeless populations are able to keep their trains clean by simply enforcing fares.”

      This was such a surprise to see when I was using Sound Transit in Seattle. MTA was a bit different, they definitely had an issue with keeping the homeless out but they mainly kept to themselves, but Sound Transit buses made me feel like I was back in Asia. Granted Sound Transit is more of a commuter service especially their buses but I was surprised at how punctual and clean those buses were.

      Heck, even Big Blue Bus has cleaner buses than Metro does. It really is just this agency that is just. . . Bad!!!

  32. As a former RTD Bus Operator, became a Supervisor prior to the formation of the MTA, I never had a problem with homeless passengers. They could ride all night until I was scheduled to pull in sleeping thru my layovers if they wished. The difference from now is although they may have had numerous bags they were clean and not offending. During my time being as Road Supervisor and as the years progressed homelessness became a enormous problem because personal hygiene became part of the equation. And as I recall we could not eject these passengers from our buses and trains due to our Federal subsidy. It’s up to our local governments to enact rules and regulations that address minimal standards of personal care. Ones cloths can not be soiled with human waste and body odor not overly offensive to others. Its my opinion local governments favor homeless individuals riding public transit as opposed to camping or lingering on their local streets. While some of our homeless are in that position due to a lack of housing my experience as a RTD Bus Operator was that many do not wish to live indoors due to their mental health issues. They could communicate and conduct themselves in an otherwise normal manner they just preferred to ride buses day and night as opposed to living in a conventional environment. So what was a minor problem that was never addressed has ballooned into a major crisis in our society that many politicians seek to throw money at absent of any viable solutions. It’s time to stop studying the problem and instead attack it aggressively. Every under utilized public and private building should be converted into temporary housing along with both medical and mental support. We saw Parker Center torn down instead of being repurposed as temporary housing. We see the iconic General Hospital, now vertically empty sitting under utilized. We see the Lincoln Heights Jail under utilized. On the private side the Clark Hotel on Hill Street between Fourth and Fifth. The motel at Sunset and Bates to name two potential parcels that could be repurposed. And yes, the MTA should step in. Divisions 6, 10 and 12 Transportation buildings sit empty, why?

    • That would make sense, but Metro sucks.

      Enjoy free meth fumes on your next ride!

  33. Boy, do I miss the days when the only troubling thing about riding the redline (B) was loud music being played or someone bringing a barking dog on board. When I would just complain about 12 minute wait times. Now it’s something completely different and frightening. Despite only living 2 blocks away from Sunset/Vermont, I stopped riding it earlier this year. The problems were just too many, especially the drug use and crazy behavior on the trains. Its sad because I use to really encourage people to ride transit for many, many years before. Now I tell them, it’s too much trouble and potentially dangerous. I hope that in the future, I and others can ride comfortably and confidently again.

  34. Thank you for taking the time out to read and respond to all of the surveys that were submitted by us riders. It’s super convenient for riders, like myself, to be able to take the train to and from work every day (as I am a regular rider from Expo La Brea to 26th & Bergamot, Monday-Saturday). The thing that hasn’t been convenient has been the amount of homeless people that have been dominating the trains and the elevators leading to the trains. I feel really bad for these people and for Metro, as well, because it’s not Metro’s fault that people are homeless and haven’t anywhere else to go. I, do, however wish that there were more guards on duty who could help to tell the poor homeless people that they can’t be on/around the stations/trains the way they have been. It has been an ongoing battle to get around people sleeping in the aisles, and everything else. Also, for a while there were police officers that were on the train at certain times when I would leave for work in the morning, and unfortunately, they, too, did next to nothing to help the riders when they, clearly, saw certain situations happening. Maybe they felt this was out of their jurisdiction to say anything. It’s because of this, that I am in the process of getting my own vehicle. I appreciate so much that Metro has addressed these situations and are working to fix the major issues, but this is a much larger issue that our politicians should be handling, making sure that our locals can afford the cost of living. It’s going to be a long road to be able to get our public transportation in a manner where most riders feel comfortable again.

  35. I’ve been riding Metrorail for 20+ years. I acknowledge the homeless issue exists and it discourages people from riding the rails. Vigilant fare enforcement is the way to go. If there is a law enforcement presence on the trains, it will encourage more fare-paying people to ride the rails. The presence of law enforcement will also minimize vandalism. If someone doesn’t have a valid ticket, regardless of their housing status, they MUST be escorted off the trains and maybe even off Metro property. This can’t be negotiable.
    The trains used to be clean and well maintained. They now look and smell like restrooms. I am sure Metro simply is unable to keep up but a little more enforcement of laws already on the books will go a long way in making more people want to ride and keep scofflaws from riding. I still ride occasionally but have resorted to my car due to the filthy conditions on trains. I do feel safe on the trains as most people, housed and unhoused, keep to themselves. It is the filthiness and odors that discourage me from riding as often as I once did.

    • Metro is leading the way in free restrooms on every bus and train! Just pick a seat and do your business.

  36. If the board votes to have fares — be it $1.75, $2, or otherwise — all I ask is that they be enforced. Everybody on the bus or train should have paid Metro their fare to ride.

    Currently there are many people who do not pay to ride, and spend the day ping-ponging between NoHo and Union Station on the subway with no end in sight. This is not the purpose of transit, and it takes away valuable transit resources from those who need to use the bus and train to move around Los Angeles.

    Metro serves a disproportionately low-income demographic. Don’t keep hurting us low-income riders by turning a blind eye to fare evaders who don’t use transit for transportation.

    • Yes, I am low income living on Social Security, but I ALWAYS ensure my tap card is loaded with enough funds for my trips. I am tired of seeing homeless, young people and others simply entering Bus Lines 2 and 28 through the back door withut paying their fare. The demeanor of these riders suggests they feel entitled to free rides.

  37. How about we just…make sure people pay for the subway/light rail before they enter the turnstiles like every other city does. For some reason Metro doesn’t bother to do this and allows anyone to come in and shoot up in their stations (I commute on the red line and see this daily). The increased staff presence would be paid for by the increased revenue from having everyone pay, and the fare checkers could be the same as the mental health ambassadors that Metro recently hired. This would have a huge impact on both safety and revenue, but of course Metro would rather study and plan for 10 years than take any actual action.

  38. I don’t understand why Metro does not have a policy that requires EVERY time the end-of-the-line is reached, regardless of time of day, all riders, including the unhoused, are required to deboard the train. Why are people allowed to stay on all day long?

    • Simple answer is…. Its the easiest way Metro and the City sweeps the homeless people under the rug. After working all day most people can’t even sit down on the ride home. The homeless are sleeping half naked all over the seats or you have some smoking meth.

  39. Hi, has there been any thought of doing what places like London do, which is actually forcing people to pay before getting on their transit? By doing so, they simply don’t have the same problem. Their public transit system is not rolling stock for the mentally ill and unhoused. For the life of me I can’t figure out why Metro allows people to just roll shopping carts of their belongings onto trains.