L.A. riders bail on Metro trains amid ‘horror’ of deadly drug overdoses, crime
Commuters have abandoned large swaths of a Los Angeles Metro train system plagued by crime and the scourge of drugs.
Damning indictment of the current state of affairs on Metro's trains.
Matthew Morales boarded the Metro Red Line at MacArthur Park as classical music blared over the station loudspeakers.
It was rush hour on a Tuesday afternoon, and Morales made his way to a back corner seat and unfolded a tiny piece of foil with several blue shards of fentanyl. As the train started west, he heated the aluminum with a lighter and sucked in the smoke through a pipe fashioned from a ballpoint pen.
Doors opened and closed. A few passengers filed in and out. A grain of the opioid fell to the floor. He concentrated on trying to pick it up, then lost track, as his body went limp. His shoulders slumped and he slowly keeled forward.
By the time the train arrived at the Wilshire/Western station, Morales, 29, was doubled over and near motionless, his hand on the floor. The train operator walked out of the cabin, barely glancing at him as she passed — as if she encountered such scenes all the time.
Drug use is rampant in the Metro system. Since January, 22 people have died on Metro buses and trains, mostly from suspected overdoses — more people than all of 2022. Serious crimes soared 24% last year compared with the previous.
“Horror.” That’s how one train operator recently described the scenes he sees daily. He declined to use his name because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Earlier that day, as he drove the Red Line subway, he saw a man masturbating in his seat and several of what he calls sleepers, people who get high and nod off on the train.
“We don’t even see any businesspeople anymore. We don’t see anybody going to Universal. It’s just people who have no other choice [than] to ride the system, homeless people and drug users.”
Read the full article for more disturbing anecdotes, including an interview with a couple who gave their full names and freely admitted that they were at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Station to buy fentanyl.
Metro Board of Directors Members must be required to ride the Metro
Thanks to the LA Times for bringing this shame into the light of day. Don’t let Metro keep ignoring these problems!
My wife works downtown, and pre-covid she took the train in to work every day. Since COVID hit, she took it once and just said "nooope" and now is driving into work. She hates driving, but the trains are just absurd.
We've talked a lot about how to fix it, and her main thing is she says "well, there were always drugged out people on the train, but there were enough other working professionals, especially during commuting hours, that she felt safe, just from the pure numbers." But, since after COVID, people trickled back into the office, there was never a chance to get the numbers up- someone got recalled to the office, rode on the train, didn't think it was safe, started driving, then the next group of people got re-called, and experienced the same thing.
I think LA needs to do a giant "reclaim the trains" event (obviously they can't call it that, but it's what it would be), where they do a big promotional about "getting people back on the trains for some week" and that week, police the shit out of the trains. Make it safe. Then, they won't have to keep up the massive policing for too long, because if the professional rides return, the safety returns with it.
It's been particularly bad the past few weeks with the rain. A lot of tweakers just hang out in the stations or on the trains to get out of the rain. I take the Red Line and you will always see people smoking fent or strung out at the MacArthur Park station.
The people ODing or close to it... yeah, it's not pleasant to watch. I see it all the time. At least you know they're not going to be aggressive if they are barely conscious. I start to feel unsafe when someone starts yelling and acting erratically (happens frequently). What are the Metro ambassadors supposed to do in that situation? I carry pepper spray, but I still feel pretty unsafe these days and don't want to ride the trains anymore unless something changes. If I had kids, I would never take them on the metro.
I do see a few more cops and ambassadors here and there, but they don't really do anything. A homeless man was passed out on the Red Line when I took it a couple weeks ago and a few cops got on and just watched him there.
Idk, I'm a huge proponent of public transit, but our Metro is particularly bad these days. I don't blame people for choosing to drive. Funny enough, the buses I've taken in the city have all been fine so far.
The smell too. I don’t think the trains or stations have been cleaned since the beginning of the pandemic. I used to ride the metro everyday for over a decade.
Currently on the redline, 6 homeless folks all hopped on at the same time, one smoking something off of foil, another alternating between puffs of a cigarette and a joint.
Really “stepping it up”
In before the “it’s safer than driving” crowd arrives to tell us all how stupid we are for being concerned about this stuff.
Met a drug dealer homeless man on the E line who had just gotten beat up. Face was bleeding and shit. He sat next to me and was cool for a sec until he offered to sell me crystal. I switched cars and just settled for the guy blasting music and smoking a blunt. still not as a bad as the 2 dudes smoking crack on the car before both of those tho
The Chinatown goldline metro station is covered in discarded food and literal human feces.
If you’re in any kind of public office or board, you should be required to go to and from in the MTA.
I’d love to have debates around the city and see if politicians can even make it to places in time.
It used to just be that it was inefficient and didn’t go anywhere, even before mild germophobes before the pandemic. Now they are just trying to make sure it is not rideable
File this under “no shit”. It’s been bad for years and worse since the pandemic.
I tried to be a good citizen and used to take it every day but seeing people smoke meth and being held up at knife point out my ass back in a car.
The city is trying so hard to get people to give up cars but haven’t done anything to give us a better option.
We already all knew this. Now hopefully some people outside of CA too. But I don’t think it will amount to much sadly. If their salaries were based on ridership then things would change drastically.
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