St. Louis Officials Meet Today to Discuss Metrolink Safety

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – After two fatal shootings on Metrolink in recent weeks, local leaders huddle today to talk about new security measures for the light rail line.

St. Louis Mayor-Elect Lyda Krewson will be attending. She wants only people who buy a ticket to get on the trains, and says she has been talking with Metrolink officials for several years about installing turnstiles.

“I know it’s complicated to do that, but we’ve got to look forward here, and look at what’s going to make our system better and safer. The system was designed as an open system some 20 years ago, so it’s time to reevaluate that,” she says.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger also wants to consider using facial recognition cameras on the trains. Stenger says he’ll speak in favor of turning the Metrolink line into a closed system.

“We’ve had a system that’s been open for decades and that system, operating under the honor system, is not working, and it’s not working for fares, and more importantly it’s not working for public safety,” he says.

He envisions a system that will include things like turnstiles orfacial recognition technology that would block people who turn up on a criminal database from getting on MetroLink trains.

Stenger was asked why Bi-State, which oversees MetroLink, won’t be at this meeting. He says Bi-State has a track record of “being uncooperative” with the jurisdictions that fund them.

“We’re going to get together, we’re going to create a plan, and present this plan to Metro with a united front,” he says.

Stenger says a closed system can be installed system-wide for around $10 million. Bi-State president and CEO John Nations has quoted a price that’s roughly 10 times higher than that amount.

Stenger called the meeting with Krewson and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern. They’re scheduled to meet today in Stenger’s office in Clayton.

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