Even if bystanders recognize a suicide attempt, there's seldom time to rescue someone. If a conductor notices, they are often too close to stop the train, which can weigh more than 150 tons.
"It's a helpless thing, when you're coming in at 55 mph and the train won't stop on a dime," said Roman Alarcon, a Metro supervisor. Nearly two decades ago, a man walked in front of his Blue Line train. He still finds it hard to discuss.
After a death, service typically stops for several hours as officials investigate, remove the body and clean the train.
Mayes, who Monday was stationed at a crossing in Willowbrook, said it's hard to get those deaths out of her mind.
"When somebody kills themselves, more than just the family is affected," she said. "Every death reminds you of what happened to you."
Whenever she sees a passenger ignore the flashing red lights and ringing bells that signal an approaching train, she said, she thinks back several years to the suicide at Hollywood/Highland station. Then she says a prayer for the conductor.