Metro Safety

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
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How does everyone feel about Metro Link safety? Do you think the platforms and trains need more security or do you think they are adequate? What about the installation of turnstiles? If installed do you think they could be useful in making the system safer? Just wondering.
I ride a few times per month so I'm not expert. Mainly CWE, Loop, and Stadium stations. Each time I ride is a different experience. The majority of the times I feel perfectly fine, other times I can't wait for the train to come. Usually officer presence makes a difference however metrolink security I don't think is always taken seriously. At night at Forest Park station I'd almost always recommend security presence. I wouldn't be opposed to turnstile entry as it wouldn't interfere with anyone who is supposed to be there, in fact I think it's a good idea.
I never understood why there wasn't turnstiles or other control devices for the purpose of fare collection.
imperialmog wrote:
I never understood why there wasn't turnstiles or other control devices for the purpose of fare collection.

Cost.
imperialmog wrote:
I never understood why there wasn't turnstiles or other control devices for the purpose of fare collection.


You can find extensive debate on turn styles and the Metrolink honor system if you search the site. Basically, the cost to purchase, install, and maintain these systems far outweighs any reasonable fleecing done by free riders.
But turnstyles could also act as a security control in which you need a card to enter and exit the system. May increase ridership.
^I think safety is adequate on MetroLink. I also don't think turnstiles would do anything to make the system more secure.

NYC Subway has turnstiles, and they do very little in limiting the number of homeless, crazies and beggars. Many people - mostly teens - who don't want to pay to ride just jump the turnstile or duck under it. Others - usually adults - just ask for a swipe from someone with an unlimited ride Metrocard. It's not uncommon to walk out of the turnstiles and for someone to be standing there asking, "Hey, can I get a swipe?" Which could be viewed as a security concern in itself. Basically, it's easy to see them as a cure-all, or even significant security improvement, because MetroLink doesn't have them, but they're not.

Do all stations still have private security attendants during all hours of operation? If that's the case I'd like to see that change. Stations like Sunnen, College, Maplewood, Richmond Heights, Forsyth, and Memorial Hospital should have security cut almost entirely, and those resources should be focused on Forest Park, Delmar, Central West End, Grand, N. Hanley, Civic Center, 5th & Missouri, and any other high volume stations that have a historically higher amount of criminal activity. Not all stations should be treated equally when it comes to resources for safety and staffing.
The security guards are, by and large, useless. My suggestion to Metro has to been reduce the numbers but hire competent, better-paid security guards that are always actively riding or patrolling.

Sorry to say it, but not some minimum wage, unarmed 100lb female guard who couldn't handcuff an adolescent. These are the types that are usually milling around or ducking into the shadows. Not so say I blame them for not being out there more. Would you risk your life and limb when they're paying you $8 an hour?

They need more presence on the trains and not huddled around, say, the little shack at the Grand Metrolink station.

Right around rush hour sees the changing of guards and there are gaps in security on certain parts of the system, at certain times of the day, during which criminals have absolutely no fear. During these times and in these locations, there are very open drug deals, assaults, fights, smoking, hustling, panhandling, gambling, and so forth. It's like a Middle Eastern souk with people selling stolen merchandise and pirated DVDs.

Metro also claims to have undercover guards. Of course, I don't expect them to be everywhere at all times, but don't you think at least once in regular riding over TWENTY YEARS one might see a guard cite a passenger for fighting, throwing chicken wing bones on the ground, gambling, or dealing drugs?

And, ultimately, in my opinion, security on trains is a police issue, just like security on streets, security in parks, and other places. Metro should supplement it, but I think an occasional STLMPD patrol should be expected.
What day/times/stations are you mostly referring to? I might want to pick up some DVDs and place some bets.
wabash wrote:
What day/times/stations are you mostly referring to? I might want to pick up some DVDs and place some bets.


I have a feeling you'll lose the bets :lol:
Elliott Davis goes to Atlanta and shows that MARTA has turnstiles (for lack of the term for what they really have. What are they called?) and a police force whereas Metrolink is open and has security guards.

How does the rate of incidents compare to other places where people gather? How could one gauge its relative safety empirically? Does it matter in the end considering how powerfully ugly the video of the guy being assaulted is?

I went to Vienna a few months ago. They have an open system, and I didn't see a heavy presence of security people. Wonder what they do different? (I realize it's a different society, a can of worms I don't want to open here!)

Fox2 - You Paid For It: The price of safety on Metro transit

http://fox2now.com/2015/10/29/you-paid- ... o-transit/
I wonder what the capital cost of installing turnstiles vs. annual cost of mostly useless and evadable fare enforcement.

Not sure how Metro is expecting their "smart" card implementation to work without turnstiles...
Having police instead of security guards would definitely be a step up. But I don't think it's nearly as bad as TV news likes to paint it.

You're going to have to walk to/from the station, where there isn't going to be an officer walking beside you. I'm not sure the danger at certain stations really warrants more security. Definitely a lot of fear-mongering here.

I board regularly at Union Station, where they interviewed people who feel unsafe. I've rarely felt unsafe there. My wife rides Metro daily. She has few complaints either (mostly weird creepers).

Our system and Atlanta's have both had viral videos of onboard assaults (and I assume every other transit system in the US is also featured in a viral assault video of some type).

In Budapest, the fare inspectors are dressed in street clothes. After the doors close on the train, they put on their "fare inspector" armband and check tickets. We could at least try something like that, as there's little to no cost.
eee123 wrote:

In Budapest, the fare inspectors are dressed in street clothes. After the doors close on the train, they put on their "fare inspector" armband and check tickets. We could at least try something like that, as there's little to no cost.


Metro claims it has plainclothes security yet I haven't seen one in over twenty years. Several people challenge Metro on its Facebook page about the topic and Metro rarely responds.

On Tuesday, I rode to the Grand station from downtown. Lots of havoc on the train - loud music (F-bombs all over), someone selling merchandise they [possibly] stole from Union Station, and a drug deal. The only reason I say possibly is that I literally have no idea if there are stores in Union Station. They were selling socks and ear buds.

I got off at Grand, and there is a security guard locked - literally locked - in the glass cubicle there doing absolutely nothing. I took a picture to ask Metro why a security guard can't occasionally ride a train through that stretch during evening rush. The guard came out and started screaming at me while I politely smiled and walked away.
bprop wrote:
eee123 wrote:

In Budapest, the fare inspectors are dressed in street clothes. After the doors close on the train, they put on their "fare inspector" armband and check tickets. We could at least try something like that, as there's little to no cost.


Metro claims it has plainclothes security yet I haven't seen one in over twenty years. Several people challenge Metro on its Facebook page about the topic and Metro rarely responds.

On Tuesday, I rode to the Grand station from downtown. Lots of havoc on the train - loud music (F-bombs all over), someone selling merchandise they [possibly] stole from Union Station, and a drug deal. The only reason I say possibly is that I literally have no idea if there are stores in Union Station. They were selling socks and ear buds.

I got off at Grand, and there is a security guard locked - literally locked - in the glass cubicle there doing absolutely nothing. I took a picture to ask Metro why a security guard can't occasionally ride a train through that stretch during evening rush. The guard came out and started screaming at me while I politely smiled and walked away.


What time of day were you riding? Did you relay the incidents and what happened to Metro HQ?
^ These kinds of things happen occasionally and at random times. I've seen all of the above during evening commutes (at least a dozen times each) in the past year or so.

But really... Metro is "trying" to be a 21st century transit agency, wants to implement a smart card system (which is supposedly in progress but still in a pilot/beta phase for over a year), but doesn't even have turnstiles to regulate entry/exit at the platforms. :? :roll:
^ Really, what is it about turnstiles that people think will somehow magically make a transit system better?
Someone selling socks or transit passes, or playing three-card monty isn't really a safety issue. Sure, security should address it. But it's as much of a safety issue as being panhandled on the street is a safety issue.

As for turnstiles and smart cards, I'm sure Metro has this issue addressed. Touching your smart card to a validation box the same way you validate your tickets now is probably all it takes.
I see plenty of people selling stuff on the NY subway, which has turnstiles.
DC and NY have had recent murders on their subway and they have turnstiles.
FWIW, Metro has studied turnstiles in the past, and determined that the cost of installation and maintenance far outstrips the amount of money they would recoup from people that free ride.
Though the argument presented isn't about curbing freeriding so Metro makes more money rather that they'll reduce crime and other nuisances on the trains and platforms.
That's true. From a purely monetary standpoint on something they can measure, turnstiles lose money. Statistically, it's difficult to measure any projected uptick in ridership due to an increased feeling of safety.
The smart card system + no turnstiles will make freeriding easier, not harder. And it's already pretty easy as it is.
Randy wrote:
The smart card system + no turnstiles will make freeriding easier, not harder.


How so?