The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) reports it has trained nearly 300 new Metro Ambassadors as part of a three-to-five-year pilot program based on the success of similar programs in San Francisco and Philadelphia.
The Metro Ambassadors are available to assist riders navigate the transit system, provide extra eyes and ears and support riders who need assistance by answering questions, connecting them to the resources they need and reporting issues they see.
The ambassadors will be supplied through two contracts awarded in June 2022: $27.76 million to Strive Well-Being Inc., which is a Small Business Enterprise firm, and $95.09 million to RMI International Inc, a Minority Business Enterprise firm. The Metro Ambassadors will be identifiable by their green polo shirts and vests and will be equipped with communication devices like cell phones or iPads to contact appropriate staff to connect customers with resources and report maintenance and safety concerns via L.A. Metro’s Transit Watch App.
“I’ve seen these ambassadors interact with our riders with my own eyes, and I can honestly say I am impressed with the excellent job they are doing,” said Glendale City Council Member and L.A. Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. “They have turbocharged Metro’s customer service at stations and on trains and buses and are helping the agency proactively address some of the thorny issues we are now seeing on the transit system. I think they make an excellent addition to Metro’s ongoing efforts to improve conditions for all our daily transit riders.”
The program is part of L.A. Metro’s multi-layered and reimagined approach to public safety, but the ambassadors are not security officers and are not replacing existing security staff or law enforcement. L.A. Metro describes its Metro Ambassadors as diverse and all hail from the communities L.A. Metro serves. All have either lived or have professional experiences with the various types of challenges experienced by many L.A. Metro customers, which makes it possible for them to perform their job with empathy, respect and skill.
“Metro Ambassadors are at the core of our efforts to re-envision how to keep people safe on Metro. These ambassadors will serve as the eyes and ears of our system, as a trained, friendly presence to welcome riders to Metro every day,” said Holly J. Mitchell, Los Angeles County supervisor and L.A. Metro Board Member. “Our ambassadors come from our communities and understand how to help riders navigate the system, report any incidences and make sure they aren't alone when they ride transit.”
Metro Ambassadors have been deployed along certain routes of the L.A. Metro Rail System since the first cohort was trained in October 2022, first on the K (Crenshaw) Line and then gradual expansion to the A (Blue), B (Red), D ( Purple), L (Gold, as well as key bus lines where they are needed most) and J Lines (Silver).
“In survey after survey, our customers have told us that they want more wrap-around support for riders on Metro,” said L.A. Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “Metro Ambassadors are a key part of delivering that support, along with the other layers of our Metro team. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do to deliver the type of transit service people expect and deserve on our system – and we’re far from done.”