If you’ve traveled on the B / D Lines recently, you may have seen Metro staff on the system wearing masks, coveralls and other PPE equipment. These are our specialized cleaning crews tasked with cleaning the ancillary spaces used by Metro employees. Last week, we began rolling out new cleaning protocols in the ancillary areas of the Wilshire / Western station on the D Line in Koreatown and our North Hollywood station on the B Line.
What are ‘ancillary spaces’?
Ancillary spaces are underground hallways that connect our custodial supply rooms, electrical control rooms, and other maintenance facilities. There are nearly 100 of these spaces on the B and D lines today. During emergencies, these spaces also serve as emergency exits and egress sites for the public. For this reason, the doors to these spaces must remain unlocked at all times, although there has never been an emergency that necessitated the use of ancillary spaces for emergency evacuation in the history of Metro. These doors are alarmed and clearly demarcated by signage, not unlike how emergency exit doors are demarcated at an airport or any other public space. Trespassing into these areas is a violation of California law.
Why is Metro doing this?
During the pandemic, we experienced a rise in people trespassing into the ancillary spaces of our system, which are designed for use by Metro staff and are closed to the public. It has long been Metro practice to regularly clean and patrol these areas to ensure they are being used appropriately. As readers of the Source know, Metro has been stepping up its efforts to remove trespassers and loiterers all over the system. So far this year, we have removed 37 trespassers from these non-public areas and police have made 19 arrests related to ancillary area trespassing.
In May 2023, we commissioned a study of the condition of these areas from an industrial hygienist and discovered numerous biohazards, such as spilled chemicals, drug residue and human waste. While risk to riders is minimal, as the biohazards are present in areas not accessed by the public for the purposes of riding the system, the study concluded that we needed to do more to keep employees safe while cleaning and performing maintenance in these areas.
Tell me about the new cleaning protocols.
In line with recommendations from the study, we launched a new 2-step process to clean our non-public ancillary spaces.
In Step 1, armed contract security officers inspect the areas for the presence of trespassers. Once secured, the custodians spray the spaces down with cleaning agents.
In Step 2, once the non-public ancillary areas are again inspected to ensure there are no trespassers present, the custodians reenter them and remove the debris left behind by trespassers before conducting thorough cleaning operations.
Metro employees cleaning and maintaining these areas work in teams of a minimum of two security escorts and four to six custodians. All the crew members are outfitted with appropriate respirators (PAPR respirators or P-100 masks) to protect their health and safety.
We began deploying these new deep cleaning methods at our B and D line stations. In the coming weeks, we will cover all the non-public ancillary areas along these lines.
This is just one of the many ways that we’re working to deliver a better and safer system for our customers and our employees.
Categories: Transportation News