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Guards to Begin Patrolling City Buses


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By Lookout Staff

March 8, 2024 -- Unarmed security guards will begin patrolling Santa Monica buses and bus stops on Saturday to assist passengers and deter crime and unwanted behavior, according to City transit officials.

Big Blue Bus will station specially trained transit safety officers (TSOs) from Good Guard Security on high-traffic routes and at select bus stops "where they are most needed," transit officials said.

“Big Blue Bus has long maintained an exceptionally clean, safe, and secure system,” said Anuj Gupta, director of the City's Department of Transportation.

“We are introducing transit safety officers as another component of our multilayered approach to safety and customer experience, and to provide greater support to our dedicated riders and employees.”

The uniformed guards will help riders navigate the regional bus and rail network and guide them on fares and payment methods, transit officials said.

They also will "address safety and maintenance concerns reported by passengers" and "offer support and resource materials to passengers in need."

In addition, they will "educate riders about Big Blue Bus’s Code of Conduct and ensure adherence," officials said.

Since 2019, Santa Monica buses have seen an increase in passenger disturbances, assaults, code of conduct violations and health and safety concerns, according to transit officials.

Under the contract with Good Guard -- which includes providing existing security services at BBB facilities -- the City will pay $653,136 during the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30.

Pending City Council budget approval, the City would then pay $1,350,936 a year for the next five fiscal years.

The program that launches Saturday marks the first time security services are expanded from safeguarding facilities from hazards and threats to riding aboard buses and conducting foot patrols at BBB bus stops, officials said.

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