The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has honored the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) with the prestigious Gold Standard Award, one of only six transit agencies nationwide to receive this recognition this year.
The Gold Standard Award is the highest level of recognition TSA can give to a transit agency for achieving top scores during an annual review of 17 categories of security and emergency preparedness elements. The review evaluates several aspects of a transit agency’s operations, including its security plan, security training, drills and exercise programs, public outreach efforts, and background check procedures.
“TSA is pleased to recognize Metro for achieving excellence in its transit security and emergency preparedness programs. The Gold Standard Award symbolizes Metro’s commitment to its customers, its adherence to core principles and its leadership in mass transit security,” said TSA Assistant Administrator Sonya Proctor, the agency’s lead official for surface security. “We are proud of the strong partnership between TSA and Metro and commend them on their continued commitment to transportation security.”
TSA has oversight of 6,800 public transit agencies in the country. Every year, the TSA assesses a select number of transit agencies nationwide for evaluation through its Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) program. Just a fraction of those evaluated achieve scores high enough to receive the Gold Standard Award.
In the most recent round of BASE evaluations, TSA reviewed 108 mass transit agencies for their security posture. Metro distinguished themselves among the nation’s transit agencies to earn their first Gold Standard Award.
“We are so proud to receive our first TSA Gold Standard Award,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “This serves as a testament towards our commitment to protecting Metro passengers from terrorism and an indication that we are headed in the right direction on building a layered approach to public safety on our transit system.”
Metro operates the third-largest public transportation system in the United States by ridership with a 1,433 mile operating area and 2,000 peak hour buses on the street any given business day. Metro also operates 105 miles of urban rail service. The authority has approximately 10,000 employees, making it one of the region’s largest employers. Metro Security and law enforcement services (including buses and trains) are currently provided by the Los Angeles Police Department (Union Station and all LACMTA rail services within the City of Los Angeles), Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Transit Services Bureau, in conjunction with Metro Transit Enforcement Department, and in the city of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department.
“We sincerely thank the TSA for this prestigious award. Safety and security are and will continue to be our No. 1 priority, and we are committed to serving as a TSA testbed for new security technologies. We pledge to continually add new programs and services to help keep our transit customers and employees safe,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins.