Sound Transit increases Link light rail security by 300 guards

May 23, 2023, 12:07 PM | Updated: 12:18 pm

Sound Transit security...

A security guard rides the escalator out of the Sound Transit Link Light Rail tunnel. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

This busy holiday weekend, Sound Transit says it’s adding 300 security workers in an effort to keep riders safe.

Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said to expect a “noticeable increase” in security personnel, but don’t expect to always see them in plain sight.

Sound Transit making changes to Link Light Rail to ‘increase safety’

“If there’s going to be an area where we think there’s a particular security issue, we’ll be concentrating on that area. We don’t want to tip our hands as to where that is because that would be in our hands of the bad guys as well,” Gallagher said. “But we keep a close tab on where activity is, and where we should be targeting placement of security personnel.”

Sound Transit will be contracting with four companies to bring in hundreds of security personnel, with the full team expected to be trained and deployed in time for Memorial Day.

“Earlier this year, the board approved for new contracts with security firms, which allowed us to really beef up our security presence,” Gallagher said. “So we’ve been onboarding folks through the past several months, and we expect to have all of the new security personnel that passengers will be seeing that’s in trains and at stations by Memorial Day.”

Sound Transit notes that one of their biggest rider concerns is people experiencing homelessness and riding the trains.

“So what we heard from our passengers was a sense of feeling a little uncomfortable on our trains and in our stations. And that has, in part, something to do with the homeless who are riding our train,” Gallagher said.

“We understand those concerns. We want to make sure that our passengers feel comfortable. We also want to make sure that we’re addressing the needs of homeless people as well in a compassionate way,” he continued.

Drug use will be a major focus of the new security teams being hired. Non-confrontational methods will be used on passengers first, directing them to exit Sound Transit property. If passengers are asked to leave and refuse, transit security has the authority to physically remove them.

Sound Transit believes the additional security patrols will help them quickly respond to problems.

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Sound Transit increases Link light rail security by 300 guards