Metro officials announced Wednesday the creation of a 24-hour hotline to provide counseling to transit riders who have experienced unwanted sexual contact or harassment on buses or trains.
The hotline -- 844-Off-Limits, or 844-633-5464 -- will be staffed by counselors from Peace Over Violence, which has been offering counseling for sex-abuse victims for more than 40 years.
"The 24/7 hotline is part of Metro's commitment to keeping the system a safe space for all passengers,'' said John Fasana, chairman of the Metro Board of Directors. "Launching the round-the-clock sexual harassment hotline shows that Metro cares about our riders' experiences and that we're committed to their safety.''
The hotline is a one-year pilot program.
A survey of Metro transit riders last year found that 18 percent claimed to have experienced sexual harassment, down from 22 percent in fall 2014.
Metro officials said the figure is now at 15 percent.
In response to the harassment issue, Metro officials introduced an "It's Off Limits'' anti-sexual harassment campaign two years ago, posting advertisements and distributing information cars encouraging riders to report such behavior.
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Metro officials noted Wednesday that cell service is available in Red and Purple line subway stations in downtown Los Angeles, and video surveillance systems have been expanded.
"No other transit agency in the world has a 24/7 sexual harassment victim hotline,'' Metro CEO Phillip Washington said. "The establishment of this pilot program exemplifies Metro's commitment to protecting our customers from this kind of abuse.''