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Bi-State Development (BSD), which operates Metro Transit St. Louis, announced the launch of a pilot program with metal detectors being introduced at select MetroLink light-rail stations.
Riders will pass through metal detectors rotated throughout selected stations in the city and county of St. Louis in Missouri and St. Clair County in Illinois, BSD officials said in a press release.
The first four stations slated to deploy the security gating are Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center, College, Emerson Park and Washington Park stations in St. Clair County.
The project has been divided into six construction packages comprised of four to eight MetroLink stations each. The updated security measures for the four starter stations are in the design phase; construction bids will be released in late summer with construction to begin this year. Construction is expected to be completed in spring 2024.
The program is being implemented in partnership with the St. Louis County, St. Louis Metropolitan and St. Clair County police departments. Officers will help move riders through the metal detector checkpoints.
Additionally, Metro St. Louis will spend up to $750,000 in overtime for police officers to patrol trains and platforms this summer, when an increase in ridership is expected. MetroLink riders have asked for more police presence in stations and on trains, BSD officials said.
The added security is part of Metro Transit's $52 million Secure Platform Plan, a ridership growth strategy that calls for high-security rider entrances at all 38 MetroLink stations, as well as a station under construction at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
"The MetroLink system, which opened in 1993, is an open access system, and that means there are no barriers to prevent anyone from just walking onto the MetroLink platforms," said BSD General Manager of Security Kevin Scott. "All stations will be converted into a closed-access system so high-security gates and fencing will limit the access to the platforms and the trains to customers with valid transit passes and tickets."