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Created by California legislators in 1975, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System oversees 3,240 square miles of bus, rail and trolley routes. The system serves an estimated 3 million riders in San Diego County. To ensure a safe riding experience, the MTS deputizes 200 transit enforcement officers in two divisions: code compliance and security. MTS code compliance inspectors enforce ordinances and preserve order, while security officers patrol bus and trolley stations, arrest violators and help riders.
MTS security officers balance patrol duties with keeping the system functioning for users. According to the MTS website, if you're assigned to this division, you'll assist the public by giving directions, explaining the system's rules and securing medical assistance when a rider needs it. Crowd control is also part of the job to ensure an orderly procession of riders through the system.
Enforcement and Inspection
MTS code compliance inspectors check passengers for violations of state law and local ordinances. One big priority is cracking down on fare evasion, which costs the transit system about $900,000 per year, according to "The San Diego Union-Tribune." MTS responds by sending out undercover or uniformed transit officers to check bus and trolley riders for tickets and passes. Failure to produce them can mean citation or arrest.
Security and Surveillance
At times, MTS code compliance inspectors and security officers work together on special assignments and collaborate with other agencies to protect riders. One example is the Transportation Security Administration's K9 Explosives Unit, which consists of officers and dogs trained to detect such threats in a transit environment. To augment normal patrols, transit officers may also be assigned to special bike patrols in areas near bus and trolley stations.
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.
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