Local

Metro takes on fare enforcement from LA County Sheriff's Department

Members of the Metro board of directors take a sneak peek ride from the Culver City to Downtown Santa Monica Stations on the new Expo Line extension on Monday morning, May 9, 2016. The line opens to the public on May 20.
Members of the Metro board of directors take a sneak peek ride from the Culver City to Downtown Santa Monica Stations on the new Expo Line extension on Monday morning, May 9, 2016. The line opens to the public on May 20.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Metro employees are now taking on the responsibility of checking for fares on the Metro system after being handled for years by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. 

Nearly 100 security assistant fare inspectors are no longer working with Metro and have been placed in other units or bureaus, according to Ramon Montenegro, spokesman for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department Transit Policing Division.

A temporary contract is in place through the end of February to keep regular sheriff's patrols going on Metro's trains, buses and platforms. The patrols retain the authority to check for fares, but it's not their main duty. Montenegro told KPCC he does not know what will happen from there.

Metro says moving the task of fare enforcement in-house makes the process more effective. The agency wants to increase the number of fare enforcement personnel to 189 – from just 27 – by April, according to Metro spokesman Dave Sotero.

Metro is hoping the change will ultimately help increase safety on the Metro system. Metro wants to partner with LAPD and Long Beach Police in addition to the sheriff’s department.

"The goal is to improve response times to incidents that occur on the Metro system and to provide a more visible presence of law enforcement so people are assured that there is safety and security on the Metro system no matter where they board," said Sotero.

The law enforcement collaboration was proposed to Metro's board in December. A request to increase fare enforcement personnel will be presented to the board next month.