Viral MetroLink fight video conjures new concerns over rider saf - KMOV.com

Viral MetroLink fight video conjures new concerns over rider safety

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A still shot from a video capturing a brawl on a MetroLink train Thursday (Credit: KeShaun Thomas) A still shot from a video capturing a brawl on a MetroLink train Thursday (Credit: KeShaun Thomas)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Cell phone footage of several women fighting on a MetroLink train near Forest Park, recorded Thursday by Facebook user KeShaun Thomas, is raising new concerns over rider safety.

The punches were flying for minutes before the brawl was broken up.

St. Louis County Police have not commented on whether or not any of the women involved in the altercation were arrested or if officers even knew about the incident.

"You know, sometimes I'm uncomfortable, but I never feel unsafe," said Andrew Smith.

Andrew Smith is a student at Saint Louis University and a regular MetroLink rider.

He told News 4 he's heard about several shootings, robberies and conflicts on MetroLink trains and platforms, but said it doesn't deter him.

Maybe I'm naïve, maybe I want to feel safe," said Smith. "I want to believe in the MetroLink, I want to believe that we can have public transit."

Patti Beck with Bi-State Development, the company that manages MetroLink, sent News 4 the following statement:

"Forty-one million times a year, someone boards a Metro vehicle: MetroBus, MetroLink or Metro Call-A-Ride. Serious incidents on the system do not occur very often and are incredibly low when you put them in context with the number of people we safely transport each year."

Despite that statement, St. Louis city, St. Louis County and St. Clair County leaders want a comprehensive analysis of security along the light rail system.

Besides local law enforcement, MetroLink also has 50 full-time public safety officers, each of them armed with guns and at least 10 years of prior police experience.

Metro also contracts 120 private security officers, many of them armed as well.

Still, these numbers aren't enough for some riders.

"Oh man, they need more security guards on the train," said Juanita Stewart. "Not just on the platforms, but on the trains, too."

Juanita Stewart has been relying on MetroLink for nearly 20 years now.

She told News 4 unsafe situations like Thursday's brawl aren't as uncommon as area leaders might think.

"They need to get on the train themselves and ride it for a couple of weeks and see the things that I see," said Stewart. "Maybe that will help put more security on the train."

A request for proposals was sent out to hire a consultant for the MetroLink study Friday.

East-West Gateway, the council tasked with selecting the consultant, hopes to pick someone by the end of March and have the study underway sometime in Spring.

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