Three months into a new partnership, riders and staff are seeing a difference on the transit system in St Clair County, IL. In April, the St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) launched a one-year pilot program with Chestnut Health Systems™, a not-for-profit health and human services organization, and Metro Public Safety to address challenging behaviors by some riders of the local transit system. SCCTD is investing nearly $200,000 to enable mental health advisors, SCCTD Ambassadors, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and Metro Transit Public Safety to mitigate the number of incidents.
“The goals are to help decrease the use of platforms and trains by “all day” riders; reduce altercations and sleeping on trains; identify riders who need community resources and connect them to services; and improve overall rider experiences,” said Herb Simmons, chair of the St. Clair County Board of Trustees. Staff will look for additional State and Federal funding to expand the program.
A two-person team from Chestnut works 40 hours per week to address transit-related issues. They use motivational interviewing, and a public health approach – known as Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) – that focuses on early intervention and treatment.
Since the program inception, the team has engaged with more than 220 individuals in St. Clair County. Forty-six people were connected to services in the community including shelters, food pantries and behavioral health agencies. SCCTD Ambassador Don Hill can attest to the success of this program, saying “This program is making a real difference on the Illinois portion of the System. The experience for daily users and recreational riders is significantly more comfortable.”