Metro may consider changing its “end-of-the-line” policy after leaders in Long Beach have argued the transit agency’s policy of forcing unhoused individuals to exit trains late at night is increasing crime and homelessness in the city.
The Metro board of directors on Thursday discussed the issue, with specific options expected to come back in January.
At the end of each route, Metro trains are emptied so they can be cleaned, which some say has contributed to a 62% rise in homelessness Long Beach experienced this year. Some have called on Metro to provide services to the unhoused who ride their trains and buses during the day.
County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who serves on the board, said while the cleaning of trains isn’t likely to end, Metro needs to look at ways to partner with the county and other agencies to connect these riders with help.
“I want staff to do more than just evaluate or analyze it,” Hahn said. “I think by now I’m pretty clear on what the policy is but we want them to come back with some solutions on how maybe we could do things differently.”
Directors threw out some ideas Thursday that included having more bus connections at the end of Metro’s rail lines that could allow passengers to return to the city in which they boarded, acquiring more shelter space near the end of lines and pushing for more homeless services to be available in the late evenings and early mornings.
In Long Beach, the end of the A Line is typically the First Street platform in Downtown where Hahn said a recent survey showed between 20 and 35 unhoused riders exiting the train when its cleared just after 1 a.m.
This has led to complaints from residents and business owners at end of the line locations across the county, including Long Beach.
The county has already pledged to partner with Metro to offer more outreach workers, potentially having them on trains or at stations and having round-the-clock navigation hubs that could help connect people to shelters. when people are forced to exit trains. Metro’s full board of directors is scheduled to meet again Jan. 26.
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