Public transit: Video shows nearly 20 people passed out on a Link light rail train

KING COUNTY, Wash. — KIRO 7 has obtained video showing more than a dozen riders who appeared to be unconscious on a Sound Transit Link light rail train.

Train operators told KIRO 7′s Gary Horcher they are seeing riders using drugs and passing out on a daily basis.

KIRO 7 was told that the biggest problem they’re facing is those who smoke fentanyl, resulting in fumes in the train’s cab, as well as those who don’t pay the fare.

It is the same issue a KIRO 7 investigation uncovered on the King County Metro bus system.

The video that was sent to KIRO 7 was recorded early in the morning on May 2, at the Angle Lake station.

The link operators said they had stopped the train and riders were supposed to exit so the train could return and go northbound but security was not present to make sure those riders got off.

That video showed 18 people who appeared to be unconscious and slumped over or sprawled out on the train.

The train operator even pointed out that one rider appeared he might urinate as he saw the camera.

KIRO 7 was told that the air on the trains is heated or cooled and recirculated, so anything that is smoked in the cars is carried to the cab where the operator controls the train.

The operator said it happens frequently, especially early in the morning or late at night.

KIRO 7 reached out to Sound Transit about the video and the transit agency sent this statement that reads in part:

“The severity of the problem displayed in the video is particularly concerning and is new information to us. The riders in this case apparently boarded the train early in the morning. At the end of the line, our security vendor is supposed to walk through that train and ask all riders to exit. This interaction also serves as a check on the rider’s welfare, to ensure that the riders are responsive. The security vendor failed to perform this duty in this case. Due to many reasons, including situations like this, we were already in the process of recompeting the security contract.”

The agency also said for the majority of riders, Link is safe and reliable. Sound Transit said since the pandemic, they are definitely seeing an up-tick in issues related to sanitation, safety and to security, especially early morning and late at night.

The transit agency is launching new pilot programs to address the problems, including a new Sound Transit Outreach Team.