The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it successfully trained nearly 300 new Metro Ambassadors in preparation for their deployment on the Metro Bus and Rail System.
Where is the New Metro Pilot Program Deployed?
L.A. Metro Ambassadors help riders navigate the transit system, provide extra eyes and ears, and support riders who need assistance. They will welcome riders to Metro, answer their questions, connect them to the resources they need, and report issues they see.
Metro Ambassadors have been deployed along certain routes of the Metro Rail System since the first cohort was trained in October 2022, providing customer support first on the K (Crenshaw) Line, and then gradual expansion to the:
- A Line (Blue), B and D Lines (Red, Purple), and L Line (Gold).
- Bus lines where they are needed most, including Bus Line 20, 720, 40, 210, and the J Line (Silver).
As more Ambassadors are trained, their deployment will expand across more areas of the Metro system as they are needed.
How Does the Ambassador Program Work?
Ambassadors are available seven days a week to help Metro customers. Work shifts will cover 14 to 16 hours of the day: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. They wear green polo shirts and vests for identification and are 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 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 Ara J. Najarian, Metro Board chair. “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.”
Ambassadors are not security officers and are not replacing existing security staff or law enforcement. Their specific responsibilities are to support riders as they navigate the system by providing a welcoming and visible presence and support that customers can rely on.
They will connect riders to resources they need, whether it be for directions to get them where they are going, providing information about how to pay their fare, or to connect people experiencing homelessness with the services available through Metro’s homeless outreach teams.
Lastly, ambassadors help Metro respond to issues more quickly. They are tasked with reporting maintenance, cleanliness, or safety concerns directly to appropriate Metro departments for an expedited response.
“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. “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.”
A Successful Start to the Pilot Program
Metro Ambassadors had to successfully complete a thorough classroom and field training program that was specially designed by Metro based on the collective experience of multiple agency departments, including Bus an Rail Operations, Office of Civil Rights and Inclusion, Customer Experience, and System Security and Law Enforcement, among others.
Metro Ambassadors were trained on a range of customer-facing issues they will likely experience on a daily basis, including conflict de-escalation, disability awareness, trauma-informed care, cultural and situational awareness, Metro Operations, and other personal and public safety issues.
“Metro riders deserve safety and support while using our transit system, and the Metro Ambassador Program is ready to deliver,” said Lindsey P. Horvath, Los Angeles County supervisor. “As a longtime proponent of expanding community ambassador programs, I know first-hand the value that an unarmed security presence can bring to the Metro system. I am grateful for every ambassador from across the county who joined this awesome team. To everyone thinking about hopping on a bus or rail: I encourage you to tap into the system and to lean on our ambassador team for support along the way.”
Metro is using a $122.8 million pilot vendor contract for up to five years to operate the ambassador program. The contract is split between Strive Well-Being Inc., a Small Business Enterprise firm for $27.76 million, and RMI International Inc. (RMI), a Minority Business Enterprise firm for $95.09 million.
“In survey after survey, our customers have told us that they want more wrap-around support for riders on Metro,” said 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.”