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SaFE Reform Initiative

Safety, Security, and Fare Enforcement (SaFE) Reform

For King County Metro, nothing is more important than getting our riders and employees to their destination safely. Our goal is to be your number one choice for mobility and we want everyone to feel secure and welcome throughout their entire transit journey.

Metro is seeking youth (age 15-19) to improve transit safety on the SaFE Equity Workgroup.

Members will receive a stipend of $75 per hour. The deadline to apply for the SaFE Equity Workgroup is February 16, 2024.

Apply here

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Metro's Community-led vision of safety

Safe, accessible, and equitable transit to support community well-being

Overview

Background

In January 2021, King County Metro began our agency-wide Safety, Security, and Fare Enforcement (SaFE) Reform initiative in response to and in support of the King County Executive’s declaration of racism as a public health crisis.

Metro worked with diverse community-based organizations and engaged with roughly 8,000 individuals- including community members, customers, and Metro employees to learn what safety means to our riders and employees. We worked in partnership to develop our long-term vision of safe, accessible, and equitable transit and a set of strategies to achieve that vision.

SaFE Reform Priorities

We asked our riders and employees how we can reform our policies and practices to reach the community vision of safety and heard three consistent themes.

  • First, a clear desire for an increased presence coupled with a timely and appropriate response if a danger arises, and that support shows up in an equitable way.
  • Second, Metro should make the expectations of its Code of Conduct clear and should ensure that minor transgressions are not a pathway into the criminal legal system.
  • And third, Metro should partner with community-based organizations to improve non-transit resources available to customers, and assist customers in crises related to fares, homelessness, mental health, etc., at various locations throughout the system.

The Safe Implementation Report describes recommendations to achieve the SaFE vision and was approved by the King County Council in May 2022.


Racism as a public health crisis

On June 11, 2020, King County declared racism a public health crisis. All of King County government is committed to implementing a racially equitable response to this crisis, centering on community. The SaFE Reform Initiative has been identified as a “down payment” to community to address the harmful negative effects of systemic racism.

Priorities

2022-2023 SaFE Reform Implementation Priorities
The SaFE Equity Workgroup has identified four areas of focus for their 2022-2023 work plan.

First, the SaFE Equity Workgroup will engage to further develop, monitor, and learn from a pilot program partnership with the King County Department of Community and Human Services to provide behavioral health specialist outreach services at the Aurora Village Transit Center and the Burien Transit Center from 6 p.m. – 2 a.m., daily.

The outreach team members will provide de-escalation, crisis intervention, peer support, and connection to social support services to community members in crisis. Metro Security Officers will be present at each location to provide additional support when needed. Metro will evaluate the 12-month pilot in partnership with the SaFE Equity Workgroup to consider the possibility of creating a long-term program.

Second, the SaFE Equity Workgroup will help develop a Transit Center Ambassador Program that will station Metro employees at key transit center locations to provide customer support, information, and assistance. Additionally, the SaFE Equity Workgroup will work to further define the role of ambassadors and how this program can help all Metro riders feel safe, secure, and welcome on transit.

Third, the SaFE Equity Workgroup will review Metro’s Code of Conduct to ensure that it is clearly communicated to all riders. The Workgroup will also examine ways that Metro can respond to code of conduct violations in a consistent and equitable manner.

The Workgroup will recommend an appropriate response for specific code violations and partner with Metro to create new a response procedure that doesn’t bring disproportionate harm to communities of color, the unhoused, and other populations most affected by safety, security, and enforcement policies and practices on and near transit.

Fourth, the SaFE Equity Workgroup will partner with Metro to determine next steps in its fare enforcement policies and procedures. Fare collection was temporarily suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic and fare enforcement staff provided a customer support ambassador role.

Fare collection resumed in fall 2020 but Metro has not resumed regular fare enforcement functions. Fares provide an essential funding source and the SaFE Equity Workgroup will help Metro identify how to move forward with fare enforcement in an equitable way.

Safety news

Metro is committed to keeping communities informed about the many ways we’re investing to keep our riders and employees safe. Our Metro Matters blog provides up-to-date information on safety topics and news about our progress in partnership with the SaFE Reform Equity Workgroup.

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