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Letters to the Editor: Metro’s new Regional Connector is safe and clean. What about the rest of the system?

Riders wait for trains at Metro's new Little Tokyo / Arts District station on June 16.
Riders wait for trains at Metro’s new Little Tokyo / Arts District station on June 16.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: On its opening day, I rode the Metro light rail through the gleaming new Regional Connector stations in downtown Los Angeles. The stations were well patrolled by police and volunteers, which meant those staff were not anywhere else.

As soon as we rode south of the 7th Street/Metro Center station, the craziness started.

A man entered the train talking loudly and rapidly to himself then lit a cigarette. When I told him there was no smoking, he dared me to do something about it, and no other passengers spoke up.

Later a woman played loud music on her phone. From what I could tell, someone also lit up a joint.

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There wasn’t a single police officer to be found. I wondered what would happen if I pressed the emergency button — I really just wanted some way to report this so an officer could be waiting at the next station to remove the unruly passengers.

Until there are regular patrols on the cars and platforms throughout the system, riders will continue to stay away from Metro.

Doug Schwartz, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Building the $1.8-billion Regional Connector should not have been necessary.

Metro didn’t do the first job it should have: Plan a transit system for the entire county. Instead, it has added one line at a time, starting with the railroad right of way it inherited, without consideration of whether that was the best alignment.

If a true plan had been created, serving all the people, all the time, likely with Los Angeles Union Station as the hub, we might actually have a system that takes people where they want to go. Wouldn’t that be novel?

James Stewart, Panorama City

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To the editor: The opening of this much-needed downtown rail link is good news.

Metro now needs to create a marketing department to determine how to win back riders (who no longer feel safe) while maximizing the benefits of shorter commute times.

An easy fix? I don’t think so.

Georgette Rieck, Santa Monica

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