Metro-East News

New MetroLink leader says ‘passenger safety’ will be priority

Is MetroLink really so dangerous?

To figure out if MetroLink is really so dangerous, the Belleville News-Democrat collected reports from 15 police departments on the line as well as crime data from the past three years.
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To figure out if MetroLink is really so dangerous, the Belleville News-Democrat collected reports from 15 police departments on the line as well as crime data from the past three years.

A St. Clair County Transit District official has been named leader of the agency running MetroLink and he promises “passenger safety” will be a top priority.

Taulby Roach, who has served as the chief financial officer at St. Clair County Transit District for the past 18 months, will begin as president and chief executive officer of Bi-State Development on Jan. 1.

“Ensuring passenger safety and rebuilding public confidence will be top priorities. Metro Transit’s security measures are currently under review, and when the recommendations from the consultants are complete, I will work with the Board of Commissioners, the Metro Transit staff, our partner police departments, elected officials and all stakeholders to review and implement these measures,” Roach said in a news release.

A $400,000 transit security study was commissioned in March by the agencies that oversee MetroLink.

Security on the MetroLink system was the focus of a recent News-Democrat investigation after there were murders and shootings at MetroLink stations.

The report revealed there was less than one violent crime — such as homicide or robbery — on MetroLink for every 100,000 boardings in 2016, and 1.4 violent crimes per 100,000 boardings in 2017.

The BND compiled a first-of-its-kind database that shows every call a police officer responded to along the entire 46-mile MetroLink system in both Missouri and Illinois.

Roach will replace John Nations as the CEO of Bi-State Development. Nations has served as the CEO since 2010 and is joining the St. Louis-based Evans & Dixon law firm.

Along with operating the MetroLink system, Bi-State Development also oversees the MetroBus system and the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.

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