November 30, 2020 | 7 Comments

Latest Independent Scorecard Shows Continued Progress for Metro Transit Security

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A Deputy Sheriff, Police Officer, and G4S Security contractor stand on the platform of the Delmar Loop MetroLink platform.St. Louis’ regional effort to improve safety and security on the Metro Transit system is making significant progress, according to the latest independent security scorecard. WSP, in partnership with East-West Gateway Council of Governments, completed its third quarter assessment of Metro’s progress and has made the presentation of the findings available for the public to review here. You can access an overview of the strategy and previous reports here.

These quarterly independent assessments specifically track progress of a series of recommendations outlined in a Comprehensive Metro Security Strategy agreed to by bi-state area leadership, police partners and Metro, and unanimously approved by the Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners. All of the recommended actions fall within six categories and are detailed in the scorecard, which includes information on progress, objective evidence used to measure progress, and the responsible entity or entities for the progress.

“The Q3 2020 assessment shows progress in all categories, and the successes being achieved are a direct result of unprecedented collaboration between multiple partners with a vested interest in creating a safer, more secure transit system,” said Taulby Roach, President and CEO of Bi-State Development, which operates the Metro Transit system in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois. “While there is still room for improvement, it’s important for the public to know we are making progress and to understand we are working closely with our law enforcement partners from the St. Louis County Police Department, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department to create the safer transit environment we and our customers demand.”

We are committed to providing customers with a safe and comfortable ride. You can learn more about our efforts here: metrostlouis.org/safety-and-security

Check out some highlights from the scorecard below.

Security Strategy

Third quarter progress includes the establishment of collaborative, functional working relationships between law enforcement, Metro and contracted security. Roles are clearly defined and documented in the contracts and in the Security Plan, and have been approved through State Safety Oversight. Security, safety and emergency management have been combined and the emergency management program is now fully integrated with safety and security. More proactive communication and media strategies are being used to keep the public and other stakeholders up to date on changes related to Metro security.

Police & Security Staffing

Leadership of all three components are now aligned and the transit security program direction is supported by all partners. Metro’s Transit Security Specialist staff position has also been redefined to focus on customer-engagement and positive interactions with transit riders. Each level of security staff is being provided the proper tools to support their roles as they work as a more coordinated, collaborative and complementary team to prevent issues and to appropriately respond, when needed. Deployment is currently based on weekly data and active zone security staff deployment and now includes MetroBus. Oversight at each security layer has been strengthened.   

Procedures & Training

Standard operating procedures have been updated to support these roles and responsibilities. The Passenger Code of Conduct is being enforced and a new Ride and Abide policy has been approved and is being equitably applied, something that will be ensured through the formation of a new oversight group that will also be involved with appeals. Several individuals are currently excluded from riding the system for assault or other serious rule violations. A comprehensive training program is under development and includes a focus on de-escalation, dealing with mental illness, and other topics. Law enforcement partners are being included in these training opportunities.

Fare & Fare Enforcement

Legal authorization is now in place for citation in all jurisdictions. A holistic fare system program is being reviewed and there is clear guidance and direction for passengers about fare zone requirements.  Communication between Metro and its partner agencies around fare enforcement is improving. Deployment changes allow for additional joint “fare sweeps” to address fare evasion.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Security design criteria are under development to guide consistent application of security concepts across the current system and any future expansions. Signage and wayfinding are being updated. A CPTED evaluation of the system is complete and staff are participating in design reviews to apply CPTED recommendations. Lighting and sight line strategies have been developed to support security.

Technology

Closed Circuit Television access is now being provided to law enforcement. Approved grant monies will be used to upgrade cameras and some technology elements. Passenger Assistance and Emergency Telephones are being evaluated for functionality, and the locations of fare machines and validators are being assessed as part of the fare evaluation program. All uniformed and field-deployed Metro Transit Security Specialists are also now equipped with Body Worn Cameras. While this wasn’t a specific step required as part of the security strategy, it is a great addition to help ensure transparency and accountability.


The collaborative effort that is contributing to all the progress recently garnered the attention of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, which presented East-West Gateway Council of Governments with its 2020 National Award for Excellence in Coordination and Partnership for the work done on the Metro Security Assessment and Strategy Project. Jim Wild, Executive Director of East-West Gateway, announced the award during the organization’s virtual board meeting on Oct. 28.

“Without all the hard work and cooperation and willingness to have the difficult conversations by everybody involved, this wouldn’t have been possible,” said Wild. “I’d like to thank everyone, Bi-State Development, all the elected officials and the business representatives that have been involved. It’s nice to know we’re being recognized nationally for our work.”

While the progress made to date is worthy of recognition, all parties involved in the regional efforts to enhance security on the Metro Transit system agree that more needs to be done. The Q3 2020 scorecard calls attention to some focus areas where additional progress should be made. COVID-19 has slowed some progress on additional training initiatives. Implementation of some CPTED and technology recommendations are dependent on funding. And, while functional communication currently exists, the recommended use of a single radio channel is dependent on political agreement.

“We’re proud of the incredible progress of our team over the last year, and we will continue to build on that and address these outstanding issues,” said Kevin Scott, General Manager of Field Security at Metro Transit. “We remain committed to strengthening the partnerships and strategies that enable us to deliver the safe, secure, comfortable experience that will continue to rebuild the region’s confidence in our transit system.”


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Categories:
Safety

7 thoughts on “Latest Independent Scorecard Shows Continued Progress for Metro Transit Security”

  1. A frustrated person says:

    While this is great, I want to know why Metro can’t use any taxpayers money to install turnstiles. It’s not Metros money and it’s something people been wanting for years and you guys refused.

    1. Lindsey says:

      Hi – thanks for your question. The challenge with implementing turnstiles is the cost. When MetroLink was first designed and constructed in the 1980s, it was built as an “open-system.” Most of our stations were built at street-level with easy, open access – unlike other systems that have mostly elevated or underground stations. Because of this design, adding infrastructure to ‘close’ the system and integrate turnstile technology at all of our 38 stations is often cost-prohibitive – especially when you include regular maintenance and you still need to have staff monitoring turnstiles during operation. We have taken a different approach and have developed new modified access at several stations – with plans to add more. At these stations, we’ve installed new infrastructure to create clearly defined access points to the train platform that is monitored by security personnel who check fares. In addition, our new security team has prioritized addressing bad behavior on the system – like smoking, loud music, harassment, etc. They will be enforcing the rules of the system – and we encourage all riders to reach out to our Public Safety team if they have any concerns. All of our guards are patrolling the system wearing high-visibility uniforms. And they can be reached by text 24/7 at 314.300.0188.

  2. Madelyn says:

    Hi this is Madelyn with STLCC. I need you to restore a section of the 57 west of Wildwood town center to our Wildwood college because we are back open offering in person instruction and some staff and students use that section to get to that bus stop at our Wildwood campus. We are seeing an influx of people going to other colleges because of this. I may institute a shuttle service from Wildwood town center to our Wildwood campus if this can’t be restored. Thank You.

    1. Lindsey says:

      Hi Madelyn – thank you for reaching out to us. I have shared this feedback with our Planning team as they are reviewing service needs throughout the region. If you have any additional comments or questions, you can contact that team directly at planning@metrostlouis.org.

    2. Lindsey says:

      Hi Madelyn – We tried to send you a follow-up email, but your email bounced. Can you contact Natalie from our Planning team at 314.982.1400, extension 1816?

  3. KC Babcock says:

    I have not been checked for a ticket on the train in years. Sometimes they have security checking at civic center, but never at Union Station which is close by so it doesn’t take much to avoid paying. Late at night the train doubles as a homeless shelter and they don’t even wake people up at the end of the line (Terminal 1) let alone charge them a fare. I have notice less (still more than none) smoking and drug selling on the trains.

    1. Jerry says:

      Would you be able to share what days and times you typically ride MetroLink? Fare enforcement and addressing nuisance behavior (like smoking) are priorities for our Public Safety team, and I’d like to share your experiences with them so they can review their approach and see what adjustments can be made.

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