King County Metro is redeploying transit security staff to help promote an atmosphere of safety and equity for all. Officers will help ensure King County Metro’s code of conduct is upheld and encourage riders to heed Public Health – Seattle & King County’s guidance for riding transit safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Monday, April 20, transit security staff will be monitoring coaches and terminals that are experiencing crowding, defined as when it is difficult to maintain six feet of distance among riders and Metro staff.
We are also coordinating with the Healthcare for the Homeless Outreach Taskforce to share information with service providers to help give non-destination riders more information about available resources during the COVID-19 public health crisis. As always, our operators are encouraged to contact the control center when there are safety concerns.
At this time, Metro is for essential travel only. This means first-responders, medical personnel, other essential workers, and people who rely on Metro for access to food, medicine, and similarly essential needs. If you must ride, all passengers are expected to use social distancing measures by keeping six feet of space from other riders and Metro employees. On a bus, maintaining six feet of space is one person sitting in every other row of seats behind the safety strap – and one person in front of the safety strap in the designated ADA priority seating area. Riders can also consider waiting for the next bus if it looks difficult to maintain social distance.
Transit security staff will provide information to riders on expectations for safely riding transit and following public health guidance on COVID-19. Health guidance includes not traveling when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a mask when riding transit, washing hands often and using sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, and maintaining safe social distance from others.
Metro riders have begun seeing public health signs about COVID-19 on vehicles and at stops since last weekend. These signs are in addition to messages shared on social media, in transit alerts, and through multilingual on-board announcements.
Transit security staff will intervene if a rider is not following public health guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19, or if a rider is behaving in a manner that jeopardizes the safety of riders or the operator. For example, if there is space available to create social distancing, officers will direct riders to use that space and offer a friendly reminder about why social distancing is necessary.
Metro’s transit security staff receive over 580 hours of initial training in the areas of de-escalation, customer service, and interacting effectively with youth, those experiencing a mental health crisis, and those experiencing homelessness. Transit security staff also receive an additional 96 hours of training annually in the areas of equity and inclusion.
Metro’s Transit Security will be in safety yellow and black uniforms with “Transit Security” on the back of their jackets and shirts.
We continue to be diligent in exploring new ways to support the safety of our frontline employees and riders.
If you must go, be in the know. Go to KingCounty.gov/ReducedSchedule to confirm your route is operating. Use our “Next Departures” webpage or app to check your trip. You can also text your stop ID to 62550 or call Metro Customer Information: 206-553-3000.