San Diego MTS unveils plans to improve security on Trolly and bus system

Feb. 1, 2024
The agency plans to increase the number of officers and improve visibility and response times after a survey revealed riders want to see a larger security presence on the transit system.

A recent passenger satisfaction survey the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) carried out uncovered riders want to see a larger security presence on the transit system. In response, San Diego MTS has unveiled plans to improve security on its Trolley and bus system, including increasing the number of officers and improving visibility and response times. 

“We want to show San Diego MTS riders our appreciation by letting them know we are listening to their recommendations to improve their riding experience on our system,” said San Diego MTS Board Chair and San Diego City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn. “Riders want to feel safe and seeing an increased security presence during their trip does just that.” 

Based on the survey’s findings, in 2023, the San Diego MTS Board approved a $4.2 million increase to the security budget to add more Code Compliance Inspectors, which the agency says will result in a 60 percent increase in the number of security officers in the San Diego MTS system. Additionally, San Diego MTS will increase security officer teams and riders can expect to see officers more frequently during their trip, improving response time. 

“Now more than ever, San Diego MTS security is more than fare enforcement. It’s about being helpful as well. It’s about having a presence and being visible. It’s about being that lifeline for people when they really need it,” said San Diego MTS Board Vice Chair and El Cajon City Councilmember Steve Goble. “I’d like to thank all San Diego MTS security officers for embracing this approach. Our passengers appreciate the role officers play on our system.” 

To increase security officers’ visible presence on both the Trolley lines and buses, San Diego MTS will: 

  • Increase security officer “train” teams on Trolley lines from five to six teams per shift to eight to 10 teams per shift 
  • Double the number of officers patrolling buses 
  • Double the number of officers in plain-clothes 
  • Boost the number of officers conducting homeless outreach to seven-days-a-week coverage 
  • Operate security outposts at busy transit centers to increase visibility 

In addition to staffing plans, San Diego MTS consolidated its 24/7 security hotline to one number, which aims to improve response times. Riders will now be able to call or text one number to report incidents on the system.  

San Diego MTS officials also unveiled more initiatives coming up in 2024 to make the system better. The service improvements include: 

  • 24-hour bus service between the border at downtown 
  • All-day, every day 15-minute service on all three Trolley lines 
  • Increasing the span of service on many popular routes 

San Diego MTS says riders can expect the launch of a new payment technology in April, allowing them to tap a credit or debit card on a validator to pay a fare, bypassing the ticket machine altogether. The agency also unveiled improvements to its stops and stations to keep them safer and cleaner, including improved shade and lighting and modernizing the trash collection process. 

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
An MTS transit security officer in bright yellow and an Inter-Con security contract officer in blue on a joint patrol.