Drug-Free Metro campaign on Metro B (Red), A (Blue) and L (Gold) Lines starting to show results

In response to an increasing number of rider complaints about the illegal use of drugs on our rail system, in February we launched a 30-day pilot of a new approach to reduce illegal drug use on Metro. Using a comprehensive, layered approach, the Drug-Free Metro Campaign seeks to reduce drug-related crime, increase awareness of the risks of drug use and provide support to those struggling with addiction resulting in a safer transit experience for our customers and employees.

The campaign was rolled out on the Metro B (Red), A (Blue) and L (Gold) Lines on February 13, and included a strategic deployment of Metro Ambassadors, outreach workers, Metro Transit Security, Contract Security, LAPD and the LA Sheriff’s Department. Metro Transit Security was reassigned to rail riding teams, and our Customer Experience department started an anti-drug communications campaign. We also offered a drug diversion program through the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office to those who qualify.

Initial results of the campaign to date include:

  • From Feb 13 – March 11, we saw an overall 10 percent decrease in customer reported drug-related complaints on the system, as measured by calls into our Customer Service Line, 323.GO.METRO.
  • By week 4 of the campaign, Transit Watch App reports related to Smoking/Alcohol/Drugs were down 78 percent compared to Week 1.  Week 1 had a total of 701 reports but by Week 4 the total was 154.
  • Overall, 68 Metro Code of Conduct citations and 36 warnings were issued by Metro Transit Security. Our partners at LAPD and the LA Sheriff’s Department also made 205 drug related arrests.

We’re encouraged by the initial results of this initiative in its first 30 days. Last week, the Metro Board voted to extend the program for another 90 days. Staff will report back to the Board at our June Board meeting on this and other efforts to address illegal drug use on the Metro system.

To be clear: Possessing and/or using an illegal drug or substance, smoking of any kind and drinking or possessing alcohol of any kind has been and continues to be strictly prohibited on Metro.

We appreciate your help –– it makes a difference. If you see illegal activity, please take the time to report it. The best way to report:

  • Call 888.950.SAFE (7233).
  • Report with the Transit Watch app, which allows you to send text messages and photos directly to our security team, 24 hours a day. The Transit Watch app is available for free; (you can download Transit Watch here)
  • Use the intercom to tell the train operator or tell a Transit Security Officer.

Thank you for riding Metro. Please continue to let us know about your experiences on the system – good, bad, and in between. We’ll keep doing everything we can to ensure that our public transportation system is clean, safe and comfortable.

11 replies

  1. Metro needs to control their platforms and cars. It shouldn’t take complaints from customers to make Metro respond. Metro should be aware of any illegal activities on their property. Metro should not be pleased by the “initial response.” Riders should not be dealing with this at all.

    It should be ‘Zero Tolerance.’ Metro doesn’t have to arrest them. Violators just need to be escorted out.

    And the easiest solution is to prevent the problem in the first place. How many violators actually pay the fare? Fare enforcement at the turnstiles will prevent people who don’t need to be on the platforms or cars.

    Until then, Metro will always have a safety perception problem. Metro has been known it has safety problems for 20 years on their trains and busses and it has only gotten worse because Metro’s inability to focus on their primary responsibility: to comfortably and safely transfer their main customers.

    If Metro want to show concern for those in need, offer a parallel transit system, but don’t do at the expense of the regular riders.

  2. I wouldn’t base statistics on reports via the Transit Watch app. I’m amazed anyone ever got it to work. It never worked for me.

  3. Drug use and crime is rampant on the A Line, but so much of it remains unreported. It crosses through the poorest and dangerous region on LA, but this line in particular hasn’t had it’s fair share of policing due to politics. This line needs more resources into safety and security than anywhere else on the system.

  4. My question will this bring (more) of the ridership back?
    I stopped riding and no longer bring friends or out of town visitors.
    Better gates at the subway stations, better gates in underground and elevated stations also (I realized at grade stations are harder)
    Station agents are expensive, but it is something else that needs to be considered.

    • Agree on that last one. Even New York can be respected for this. Someone wants to evade fare or give the station attendant a hard time. A simple red panic button for nearby security.

      Politicians really wanna talk about LA having a “World Class System” yet cry broke as an excuse for what are basic amenities in cities that ACTUALLY have a world class system.

      You’re not fooling your patrons anymore. Anyone with an internet can find out the terrible conditions our system is in compared to other cities.

  5. This is something that should have be considered when Metro Rail first started running. Also, you should have your own transit police. Doesn’t anyone with Metro ever check out other transit agencies and see what they have compared to our system?

  6. I wish this was experimented and implemented on the C Line. We all get that the Redondo Beach C Line station and the South Bay Galleria are not safe places, yet I still exist in that area. I live near Anderson Park/Lincoln Elementary School. I wish they opened a Planet Fitness near me that doesn’t require a stop at the Galleria or the C Line. However, I can wait until I have enough money for a car.