Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Metro

Metro Transit Ambassadors are Here to Stay

The Metro board now unanimously supports for the ambassador program. Today's approval authorizes Metro to transition the currently contracted program in-house over the next twelve months

Metro transit ambassadors – photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

Today, the Metro Board of Directors approved making Metro's transit ambassador program permanent. The approval included plans to bring ambassadors in-house as Metro staff; ambassadors are currently contracted workers.

Transit ambassadors grew out of Metro's faltering efforts to reimagine public safety, intended to invest in care-based programs and reduce reliance on armed police response.

Metro first started deploying transit ambassadors in September 2022, with significant numbers appearing at the time of the October 7 opening of the new K Line. The program had reached its full 300-person strength by the formal program kick-off event last March. Green-shirted ambassadors have become a ubiquitous presence, especially at rail stations in central Los Angeles, and during Metro events, including the Regional Connector opening and the added Taylor Swift concert service.

Ambassadors' roles include: engaging with riders, wayfinding assistance, supporting riders with acute health issues (via CPR, NARCAN), and notifying Metro policing and cleaning staff of issues needing attention. A Metro presentation notes that ambassadors have saved 72 lives, and have improved cleaning and maintenance repair response times by reporting more than nine thousand problems, ranging from spilled food to elevator/escalator outages.

Metro recently conducted an extensive rider survey that found a great deal of support for ambassadors. Nearly two thirds of riders who had encountered an ambassador agreed that their presence helped riders feel safer. Survey results linked ambassador interactions with improved rider satisfaction.

Nearly two thirds of riders who have seen ambassadors agreed that ambassadors make Metro feel safer - via Metro survey report

Metro’s ambassador program was started utilizing a private contract that allowed the agency to get its pilot up and running quickly.

According to Metro staff, to continue the program the ambassadors should become Metro employees. Metro expects that moving the ambassadors in-house will streamline the program, save money, and provide ambassadors better job benefits, including facilitating possible promotion to other Metro jobs.

During today's board meeting, there was unanimous support for the ambassador program, even from Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian who, years ago, refused to vote in favor of establishing the program. Najarian now acknowledges the program's successes have won him over.

Today's approval authorizes Metro to transition the program in-house over the next twelve months - and includes a check-in report at six months, including a review of program costs.

The ambassador transition has a few wrinkles to work out. Metro will honor its current two-year ambassador contracts, though almost certainly won't utilize two additional one-year extensions. During public comment, Metro's contractors expressed displeasure with this.

Metro will need to navigate transitioning individual workers to in-house jobs, and still needs to work out the terms of that employment, including addressing concerns of Metro worker unions. Last summer, there was an unsuccessful push to unionize Metro ambassadors.

Overall, the future looks bright for Metro ambassadors. Their green-shirted presence is here to stay.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Metro and Caltrans Expect to Complete Torrance 405 Freeway Widening Project Next Month

Metro and Caltrans are adding nearly two miles of new auxiliary freeway lanes, a new on-ramp, and widening adjacent streets including Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street

July 19, 2024

Strategizing About Reduced Funding in the Active Transportation Program

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 17, 2024
See all posts