Metro safety means all pay to get aboard

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

While most LA Metro rail riders pay their fars with a TAP card on entering the system, there is a confusing hodgepodge of ways that entry happens, from old-fashioned gates that retract when payment is made to wide-open suburban stations where entry is easy whether or not one has tapped a card, even though signage encourages passengers to do so.

One class of rider that is agnostic about paying fares? Those arrested for crimes on Metro trains and in stations, 94% of whom haven’t paid at all.

Scofflawism begets scofflawism. And the honor system isn’t working. Simply put, people who don’t have any money or credit cards are both unlikely to be able to purchase a TAP card or pay cash for their rides, and have a greater incentive to commit crimes, being penniless.

Help must be found for them in other ways, but more assaults and robberies of other passengers is not an option for a transit system in crisis.

Metro brass can cite statistics all they like, and they do. They say fewer crimes are being reported now than in the past: That about five crimes were reported per million boardings in March of this year, about 28% lower than in February and 41% lower than in March 2023.

The numbers don’t exactly calm the fears of Metro riders and, perhaps more importantly, potential riders when the headlines read: “Three people stabbed in two separate incidents on Metro system.”

It’s true that many of the crimes occur on Metro buses, which are harder to board without paying. The more troubled of the transit criminals simply proceed to stabbing the bus driver instead. No wonder that hundreds of Metro drivers staged a sick-out earlier this month in protest of the lack of safety on the job.

But since those with bad intent can board trains without paying, as many of the apparently homeless, drug-addicted all-day riders easy to spot on any rail line in the county do, Metro needs safety upgrades, now. Jose Ubaldo, a Metro communications manager, told LAist that riders now must tap to exit the North Hollywood station. If they haven’t paid their fare, officers will ensure they do. “Usually, those are the ones causing more trouble inside the system,” he said. They are. This is one small step of a thousand that must be taken.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.