On Monday, March 6, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced 300, newly trained, Metro Ambassadors in preparation for the Metro Bus and Rail System. The program is now one of the largest of its kind in the country, and is one part of the agency’s multi-layered and reimagined approach to public safety.
“It’s going to improve the experience on Metro,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins.
“First of all, it signals that we want everyone to not only be welcomed on Metro, but to feel welcomed on Metro and that’s what the ambassadors bring.
“Something as powerful as the greeting, the connection, we go through our everyday roles and sometimes, we’re all bustling, especially in public spaces, we don’t necessarily connect with one another.”
Wiggins continued, “This program is to connect with our riders, make sure they understand that they are welcomed and they belong, and we know just in that, that helps improve the experience and a sense of safety.”
Metro Ambassadors help riders navigate the transit system, provide extra eyes and ears and support to riders, who need assistance. They will welcome riders to Metro, answer their questions, connect them to the resources they need and report issues they see.
When asked how Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Holly J. Mitchell felt about Metro’s new ambassador program, she remarked, “Besides the fabulous green shirts?
“My favorite thing is the diversity,” said Mitchell. “They represent what L.A. County looks like, they are people from the community, who are oftentimes on routes in their community.
Mitchell continued, “It’s different if you get on the train, or the bus and you see somebody you know in an official capacity.
“I think it’s a way we’re going to carve a path to redefining how public agencies represent public safety and that it’s thinking more broadly about the needs of all of Metro’s riders.”
Metro Ambassadors have been deployed along certain routes of the Metro Rail System since the first cohort was trained in October 2022, providing critical customer support first on the K (Crenshaw) Line, and then gradual expansion to the A Line (Blue), B and D Lines (Red, Purple), and L Line (Gold), as well as key bus lines where they are needed most, including Bus Line 20, 720, 40, 210 and the J Line (Silver). As more are trained, their deployment will expand across more areas of the Metro system as they are needed.
“I’ve seen these ambassadors interact with our riders with my own eyes, and I can honestly say I am impressed with the excellent job they are doing,” said Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. “They have turbocharged Metro’s customer service at stations and on trains and buses, and are helping the agency proactively address some of the thorny issues we are now seeing on the transit system.
“I think they make an excellent addition to Metro’s ongoing efforts to improve conditions for all our daily transit riders.”
“We fought for it,” said Metro Board Second Vice Chair Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker. “Our CEO’s proclamation, the customers are first, is actually played out with the ambassadors.”
She continued, “It reflects the customers, it addresses their needs, it let’s them know we really want them.
“This is our best promotion I believe and so, if we’re listening to them and they’re in touch with the people, it’s seamless.”
“Metro riders deserve safety and support while using our transit system, and the Metro Ambassador Program is ready to deliver,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Lindsey P. Horvath. “As a longtime proponent of expanding community ambassador programs, I know first-hand the value that an unarmed security presence can bring to the Metro system.
Horvath continued, “I am grateful for every ambassador from across the county who joined this awesome team. To everyone thinking about hopping on bus or rail: I encourage you to tap into the system and to lean on our ambassador team for support along the way.”
“Honestly, I love being a part of this program,” said Metro ambassador Takiesha Harper.
“I mean, people think, people have said, that it’s just something so simple, a lot of other riders have made fun of the program that Metro is just throwing their money away.”
Harper continued, “You have to understand, with the high crime, rising drug abuse, homelessness, all of those things, we look to be a presence.
“When there are more eyes around, people will kind of stop doing what they are doing.”
“It feels like part of a change, of a reconnecting,” said Metro ambassador TJ.
“We got separated during COVID times and what not and it feels like we’re actually [able] to help people get back together and communicating.
“I think its actually amazing and fits with my personality.”
Public feedback has been positive; riders have said they appreciate the presence of the Metro Ambassadors. In addition to helping customers navigate the system, the Metro Ambassadors have helped report sexual harassment, criminal activity and other issues of key importance to our riders. On several occasions, Metro Ambassadors have helped summon emergency medical assistance for riders in distress.
For more information, visit metro.net/riding/ambassadors/.