LA Mayor Karen Bass shares vision of developing 'world-class' Metro transit system

Tony Martinez takes the train from the Los Angeles Metro at 4:40 a.m. five days a week to get to his job.

"That’s when its a little rough to be on it," Martinez said.

Carmen Felix is legally blind and asthmatic. She also is a regular on the Metro

And for another passenger Tony Celis? He used to live on the trains!

"A homeless outreach team found me," Celis said. 

Now, he’s heading to a job interview after getting help from an outreach team. 

When riding for hours on the train he says, "I wasn’t taking my medications I was hearing voices. I couldn’t be around people. I thought people were after me," Celis said.

All three welcome the idea of safety changes and Mayor Karen Bass says there are some on the way. 

"As the new chair of Metro it is my responsibility to lay out the state of the agency," Bass said.

Her vision? With major events taking stage in LA the next few years, including the World Cup, the Summer Olympics and the Paralympic Games, Bass wants to make sure that the world "enjoys nothing less than a world-class transit system."

There have been lots of Metro-related crime stories on the news. Stephanie Wiggins, LA Metro’s CEO, tweeted that overall crime fell in May by 53% on the rail system and 13% on busses.

The agency is increasing visibility to add to that, according to Patrick Chandler with the transit agency. 

"We’ve asked our law enforcement contractors which includes LAPD, Long Beach PD and LA Sheriffs to be more visible," he said.

They are training new ambassadors whose job it is to serve as courtesy liaisons with people like Felix, who needs a little help getting around.

Chandler says the agency has tripled homeless outreach from 8 to 24 teams.

"When we have all 24 teams on board, there will be over 100 homeless outreach workers on the Metro system," said Dave Sotero, with Metro.

Celis likes that because he got help from such a team although it was unrelated to Metro.

The bottomline for Carmen Felix: It’s still not great. 

"It’s kind of scary," she said.

"There’s a lot more security. There’s a lot more police officers," Celis said.

Anthony Martinez said more changes will help.

Metro officials tell us the agency will partner with LA County investing nearly $14 million in an outreach to the unhoused. They are allocating $10 million this fiscal year to a new Department of Mental Health partnership for more training. 

A feasibility study is to be conducted on a possible in-house Metro Police Department. That could be a big undertaking because Metro has 270 million boardings a year, about 900,000 a day.