Watch CBS News

New plan aims to make Metro Transit safer for riders

New plan aims to make Metro Transit safer for riders
New plan aims to make Metro Transit safer for riders 01:41

MINNEAPOLIS -- For months, WCCO Investigates has been tracking the rise in crime and drug use on Metro Transit trains and buses. On Thursday, Metro Transit police and state leaders shared their new plan to make public transit safer.

Drug use and other crimes have for many become synonymous with the Metro Transit trains and buses over the years, which impacts the safety of those who rely on public transportation, including Minneapolis Public School students. 

"The safety and security of our transit system is unacceptable," said Scott Dibble, a DFL State Senator who is also the chair of the Transportation Committee and supports the bill allocating $2 million this year to improve safety for passengers and employees.

Dibble emphasized the importance of prioritizing Metro Transit since it is used by so many on a daily basis, including Minneapolis Public Schools students.

"It is the backbone of our community, it is vital to the lives of thousands and thousands of people," said Dibble.

Metro Transit Police Chief Ernest Morales says the most noticeable change passengers will start to see through this safety initiative is more officers on buses and trains.  

Extended: Metro Transit unveils new safety initiative 03:30

"When we see a violation taking place, we're going to immediately enforce it," said Morales.

Chief Morales says he has three officers in training, with the goal of adding 15 more officers by the end of summer. but law enforcement won't be the only way they're intervening on crime.

The funding is also being used to contract with community anti-violence advocacy groups, like A Mother's Love and Circle of Discipline. These groups will help de-escalate issues on trains and buses with a "soft approach."

"People don't feel threatened, they don't feel unwelcomed, they don't feel out of place," said DonEsther Anderson, Chief Operating Officer of A Mother's Love.

They plan to connect with people in crisis on the buses and trains and give them the resources they need to get help.

"Not a phone number, not an email, we want to connect them person to person to the resources that they need," said Anderson.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.