Is MetroLink really so dangerous?
MetroLink riders should be prepared to prove they paid for their tickets at three stations, including Fairview Heights, during a temporary program aimed at improving security, according to a transit advocacy group.
For about a month, security officers will check fares and monitor fare validation during MetroLink operating hours with the help of local law enforcement, the Citizens for Modern Transit announced in a news release Thursday. Riders will be directed to designated entrances and exits.
The “access control program” is expected to go into place beginning Sept. 10 at the Fairview Heights station in Illinois and Forest Park-DeBaliviere and North Hanley stations in Missouri.
Law enforcement leaders say fare violators are often the root cause of other safety problems on the St. Louis region’s light rail system.
“Access control is a key to deterring fare evasion and ensuring the security of the transit system,” Kimberly Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit, said in a prepared statement.
The program is expected to produce “metrics” on fare enforcement and possible solutions for the entire system. The effort is one of several undertakings aimed at improving safety on MetroLink.
“Safety and security on the Metro Transit system requires a well-defined and coordinated approach, including personnel presence, partnership with regional law enforcement, technology, and station design,” Jessica Mefford-Miller, interim Executive Director of Metro Transit, said in a prepared statement. “This pilot project will help us better understand the role that station design plays in this approach.”
Citizens for Modern Transit, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, St. Clair County Transit District, the Organization for Black Struggle and local law enforcement helped organize the roughly $50,000 study.
Bi-State Development, Citizens for Modern Transit, St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Clair County are contributing to the barrier study.