ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The new executive director of Metro Transit spoke with News 4 about her plans to increase ridership and keep riders safe.

Jessica Mefford-Miller told News 4 security is her number one priority. She said Metro is working on renewing and strengthening their relationships with St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Clair County officers.

Mefford-Miller also said Metro is looking at creating a radio system with the five teams that secure the Metro bus and MetroLink, which will allow for direct communication.

In September, the St. Louis County Council yanked $2.5 million in funding from Metro security, meaning it will run out by the end of the year. The council said they were pulling the money because Metro wasn’t addressing the safety concerns of riders.

“We welcome the attention and conversation on security aboard the MetroLink system,” said Mefford-Miller. “It really is our priority and it really will take a regional effort to secure not only our system but the communities and neighborhoods surrounding our system.”

Metro said they plan to unveil a new contract for security in Spring 2019.

In addition to talking about security, Mefford-Miller said ridership has been on the decline, which is part of a national trend. She said in an attempt to combat the decline, Metro has launched “Metro Reimagined,” an in-depth study of the Metro Transit System which used research and feedback from users.

The goal of “Metro Reimagined” is to make the experience faster and safer.

“More riders among Metro Bus and MetroLink does create a safer environment that more eyes on the streets or on the rails, and it creates a greater since of community,” she said.

Mefford-Miller also said she’s making it a top priority to engage with the 2,000 employees who work for Metro. She believes building and creating good relationships will help the overall experience.

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