LA Metro is in a rough way these days. The city of Los Angeles already struggles to get its citizens to use public transit, but with rising crime and drug use on the trains, fewer people than ever are forgoing their cars. Metro took a step towards addressing the problem this week by announcing the beginning of its transit ambassadors program.
Earlier this week, the LA Times published a scathing report on the state of LA’s transit system. In that report, the outlet illuminated the current state of the system in stark terms. Train operators see people using drugs nearly every day on the system. People in mental health crises roam the cars, making many riders uncomfortable or frightened. And there are even reports that people deal with things like human feces and remains. The report itself said that over 20 people have died on the Metro this year, and it’s only March!
All of these issues contribute to the declining ridership of Metro trains and buses. This increases pollution in an already polluted city, causes traffic to pile up, and fills up parking lots. Getting people back onto the Metro is important for everyone in Los Angeles’ quality of life.
Transit ambassadors can help halt crime.
The Metro’s plan to tackle crime on its system revolves around having people who can stop crime. The transit ambassador program will have riders riding two to a train or bus from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays. They’ll also ride from 8 to 8 on the weekends. These ambassadors will help get unhoused people to services, get drug users to programs, and generally clean up the Metro system.
After all, one of the big problems that LA Metro faces with this problem is a lack of authority. No transit rider wants to try to get someone to leave a train car without an authority to appeal to. The transit ambassadors will have the authority to remove people from train cars and direct them where they need to go. Hopefully, with their help, Los Angeles can have a functional and safe transit system again soon.