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More details about Metro Transit's $52M secure platform plan

The new plan includes more cameras and a secure gate system that only lets paying riders in.

ST. LOUIS — Metro Transit shared details Wednesday about its latest safety initiative to make the whole transit system safer, with a big focus on MetroLink platforms.

Currently, MetroLink riders can buy a ticket, validate it and walk right up to the train platform, but over the next few years, that’s all going to change with the installation of fences and security gates.

“It’s an upgraded modern fare collection system that forces you to validate your ticket in order for the gate to activate," General Manager of Security for Bi-State Development Kevin Scott said. "The gating system and the fencing system that will go in will also provide true, enhanced security."

He said this new gate system will not allow people to hop over it or get under it to reach the platform without paying.

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“Our system will include a full height, rototype turnstile that you have to walk through, which will be accompanied by an ADA-compliant swing door gate for ADA or large ingress/egress type events,” Scott said.

The MetroLink Task Force said one of the biggest problems it deals with is people hopping on without paying or not following the rules, something MetroLink rider Erica Scott said she's seen a lot.

“Hopefully, the new system will catch a lot of people sneaking onto the train, too,” Erica Scott said.

From October to December, MetroLink saw roughly nine incidents per 100,000 boardings.

“We also operate in an urban environment and some difficult areas where we want to provide as much safety and security while people wait on those platforms,” Scott said.

The safety project has a $52 million price tag, with funding coming from the following sources:

  • $12 million from a bond refinancing process dedicated to security
  • $12 million from Illinois Federal Stimulus
  • $17.25 million from BSD capital and the American Rescue Plan Act
  • $10.75 million from private sector funding

In addition to a secure gate system, Metro is doubling the number of cameras on buses, trains and platforms that will transmit live feeds to the Real-Time Camera Center, adding another layer of security.

“What we're doing on the closed-circuit-television side with the initiation of this Real Time Camera Center is profound. It allows us to have full-time staff looking at those live feeds,” Scott said.

Rider Erica Scott said security upgrades are definitely needed, especially where she rides in Emerson Park. The station will be one of the first stations to see security upgrades.

“We need security out here," she said. "There's never any security out here. I leave at six in the morning, and a lot of ladies are out here in the morning and there’s never any security out here. We never know. Nobody has done anything to us so far, but it still is kind of spooky, you know?”

Metro said its secure platform plan will be done in about six phases, starting with the Metro East.

Metro said it plans to look at construction bids in August, with hopes of having all 38 platforms done by about 2025.

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