Angry riders vent as transit officials tout light rail safety plan

Photo: Metro Transit via Twitter (X)

Top Met Council and Metro Transit brass spent parts of four days last week taking the pulse of the nation’s most dangerous light rail system by riding and speaking with passengers. The so-called public listening sessions were announced on FaceBook and other media.

As we continue on our mission to meet each of the 40+ goals set in our Safety & Security Action Plan, Metro Transit and Metropolitan Council leaders invite you to share your feedback on how we’re doing so far.

Join Metro Transit Police Chief Ernest Morales III, Metro Transit General Manager Lesley Kandaras, and Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle at stations and aboard the METRO Blue and Green lines on their first Listening Sessions Tour.

Evidently the anticipation was too much for some residents who’ve braved the Twin Cities light rail system. Before the officials’ tour got underway, numerous individuals went on the Metro Transit FaceBook page to unload on the appalling conditions they’ve seen up close and personal. Also tips on what officials should be looking out for.

–Oh how I would love to meet you at a speaking event where you would have to honestly answer questions about no checking of fares, prepositioning of officers far away from trouble areas, jail depopulation and how your department fits in, real vs perceived public safety, and the poor policing policies you implement and enforce, And most importantly who put you and keeps you in the position you are in!!! (Keith Feldbrugge)

–Make MSP terminals 1 and 2 a stop and you’ll get plenty of feedback. Many airport employees have to ride between terminals every day and it’s disgusting. Garbage everywhere, large groups of people smoking drugs, threatening behavior. (Amanda Bacon)

–People are right there are drug heads on the trains all through the day and night time hours smoking drinking putting there feet’s on the seats ….I have seen people get killed on the train where Is the police for this. (Eugne Waggoner)

Metro Transit’s announcement noted officials would post on the agency’s website about their experiences on the troubled light rail system. Though no Met Council or Metro Transit official appear to have posted thus far, it’s to their credit that officials personally put their safety policies on the line with the public.

Thank you to everyone who braved the cold & snow to come chat with us about improving safety on transit. There are two more days left in our Listening Sessions Tour & we hope to get the chance to connect with you!

Yet from the responses on Metro Transit’s FB page after two days of the tour, there’s still a long way to go in order to convince a still skeptical riding public.

–Everything is gross and filthy. There is urine, feces, vomit, blood, syringes, food etc on every surface of the lightrail and the stations. The only time I have ever seen anyone clean was the US Bank stadium lightrail stop before the Taylor Swift concert and that was even sub par. I found 2 uncapped dirty syringes on the ground that the cleaning crew “missed”. (Katie Brown)

–Please just make the light rail safer to ride. I think officers should be on one car of every moving train. Because the response times for anything serious happening on the train is stupid slow. You’d be lucky if five stops later you get help. (DM Situohar)

–They need to ask people how to improve safety? For starters, enforce laws. (Peter Raucker)

–Even Metro Transit and Met Council staff know how DANGEROUS IT IS ON LIGHT RAIL AFTER 4:00pm. That’s why they’re not out there, “listening to their customers.” Of course, it’s not really necessary for them to be out there after 4:00pm, when they can simply LISTEN TO THOUSANDS OF 911 CALL TRANSCRIPTS and watch the camera footage. (Linda Kammen)

It will take more than a public relations ride-along to win back the thousands of former passengers who know first-hand how far Metro Transit needs to go to guarantee their return.