Metro Transit introduces new onboard agent program

Metro Transit introduces new onboard agent program

Metro Transit introduces new onboard agent program

Metro Transit introduced a new team of agents with the rider investment program on Thursday morning.

Transit Rider Investment Program (TRIP) Agents will work to build a stronger official presence on transit in addition to inspecting fares and issuing citations for not paying.

Lesley Kandaras, the general manager for Metro Transit, was joined at 10 a.m. by Rep. Brad Tabke, ATU Local 1005 President and a representative for Mental Health Minnesota to discuss the new team’s goals and efforts toward making transit safer.

“We are not providing a consistently safe, clean experience that people expect from us,” Kandaras said.

She said the introduction of TRIP Agents brings a more official presence to the transit system, as agents can assist transit customers and answer questions.

“They are going to have responsibilities inspecting fares and issuing citations but they are also receiving training to better assist our customers,” Kandaras said.

Before, only sworn officers could issue citations for not paying for a fare. But thanks to a new state law, TRIP Agents can ask riders for proof of payment and if you fail to do so, you’ll face a $35 fine.

“With an administrative citation we’re able to have non-sworn personnel out there,” Kandaras said.

The agents begin their training on Friday on the blue and green line routes.

“It’s really, really critical that we have this safe, efficient ride for everybody,” said Rep. Brad Tabke(DFL — Shakopee).

Joining the TRIP agents are police, community service officers, supplemental security at 7 busy stops and a group to address homelessness and mental health.

“I have tons of lived experience in this situation,” said Andy Baseman, with Mental Health Minnesota.

Baseman is a recovering addict who found himself on the train all the time three years ago. He now works to reach those who need help through the Transit Service Intervention Project.

“We’re out here trying to show them that there’s a difference between what we’re doing and the police,” Baseman said.

For more information on TRIP Agents, CLICK HERE.

You can watch Thursday’s full news conference in the video player below.

Metro Transit introduces new onboard agent program