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Sacramento Regional Transit opts to bring security in-house, hires 30 officers
Safety and security continues to be a major priority for the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT). SacRT officials announced today the hiring of 30 new in-house Transit Agents to enhance safety and security for SacRT’s light rail system.
Today’s news conference heralds the end of an era, when SacRT relied on contracted security guard companies to provide a majority of its uniformed presence. The in-house team now has 63 full-time transit agents that are supported by 28 sworn officers representing various law enforcement agencies throughout the Sacramento region.
“Our number one priority at SacRT is to provide a safe experience for all of our passengers,” said SacRT Board Chair Andy Morin. “We believe an in-house presence at our stations will allow our transit agents more leverage to enforce all of the rules while maintaining consistent practices and better customer service.”
Right now, SacRT’s contracted security guards provide a visible presence at light rail stations. However, they do not have the ability to provide fare enforcement, because they are not able to issue citations as a contractor.
General Manager/CEO Henry Li opted to bring the positions in-house to ensure that all agents have the same level of influence to enforce SacRT rules. The conversion could save the District $200,000 annually.
“We believe our security detail needs to be part and parcel with the SacRT team,” said Li. “Our previous security guard company provided dedicated service for more than 12 years and we are appreciative of their commitment to our transportation system, but now we are implementing a new business model and this change requires some reorganization.
SacRT is in the process of training its new Transit Agents to replace guards that are currently contracted through G4S, a local security company. The G4S contract ends on June 30, 2017 and the new Transit Agents are expected to be ready to manage a seamless transition.
SacRT officials also announced today plans to expand the District’s Paid Fare Zone program to the entire light rail system. The pilot program has been in place since April 2016 at six of SacRT’s busiest light rail stations, and has proven to be quite successful at reducing the problem of loitering.
The Paid Fare Zone program establishes an area at each light rail station where waiting passengers must have proof of valid fare and board a light rail vehicle within two train cycles. Those without a valid ticket or pass run the risk of getting a citation. The program will go into effect system-wide on June 21, 2017.
Finally, SacRT is preparing to roll-out a new public announcement system that works in coordination with its surveillance cameras. Soon, security staff in SacRT’s Security Operations Center will be able to communicate remotely through a wireless system with passengers waiting at light rail stations. Passengers should feel confident their safety is a priority and criminals should take heed their behavior is being monitored.