Valley Metro short on security guards going into busy Super Bowl weekend

Valley Metro didn't meet its security staffing goals for Super Bowl week but officials say they're actively recruiting people
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 7:45 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — More than a million people are expected to take part in events associated with the Super Bowl and the WM Phoenix Open. It’s likely to be a traffic nightmare, so local officials are urging people to take mass transit. But Arizona’s Family has learned Valley Metro is still dealing with a shortage of security guards going into this busy weekend. Valley Metro said it is expanding its services during the next few days, putting more trains and buses in service.

As Arizona’s Family has reported, there’s been a spike in crime on the light rail system. “You’re going to skip those parking prices which are super high. There’s road closures you don’t want to navigate,” Brittany Hoffman, a spokeswoman for Valley Metro, said.

Arizona’s Family asked what additional safety measures will be in place. “There will be tons of additional security and safety measures taking place from the NFL, city of Phoenix, Valley Metro enhancing its security staff,” Hoffman said.

Back in October, Arizona’s Family first reported an increase in crime. Valley Metro said their security guards were called to 1,335 incidents in 2020, 1,618 in 2021 and 2,482 in 2022. They couldn’t say how many crimes happened on the bus system.

Valley Metro uses Allied Universal to provide security. They’re supposed to have 110 guards, but they only have 88. “We knew that was an area we needed to focus on so we really put our efforts there so we could meet those staffing levels,” Hoffman said.

Security guards patrol the rail system and check for tickets. In the four months that Arizona’s Family has been looking into transit security, Valley Metro said it’s filled 24 positions. They said it happened, “through a board action we were able to raise the wages of our security staff to meet the new inflation levels,” Hoffman said.

Phoenix police have a transit unit that oversees the areas in and around the platforms and bus stops. Although they said they’re supposed to have 56 investigators, they only have 45. Riders had mixed opinions about the safety of the system. “I would just recommend keeping your belongings by you. Just being mindful of your surroundings,” Miller said.

Valley Metro said they’re ready for the crowds. They’re also trying to fill those open security guards positions and have a number of people in training or waiting to be licensed. They will also have staff ambassadors on mass transit this weekend. They’ll assist customers with questions and be extra sets of eyes and ears.