METRO riders help stop man attempting to assault woman

It's hard to remember when we didn't have a light rail in the Bayou City, and for Myra White and her family it's their go-to way to get around when they visit. That's not to say there haven't been occasional problems.

"A couple of guys kept hopping on and off the train and asking for money. So I felt kind of uncomfortable," she said. 

"They have people checking, but I feel as though they should add more security, because one person can only focus on so many people," said Erin Britton.

They can't. 

Last Wednesday, a 29-year-old woman was riding home around 9 p.m.  

As the train neared the Hermann Park stop, a man named Warren Stewart sat next to her and tried to fondle her. 

She got up and moved and he attempted it again. Other riders on the train intervened and called METRO police, who swiftly arrested him. He was not stranger to them. 

"He has been handled by metro police for small things so we have handled him a couple of times but not like is. There were no incidents like this," said METRO Police Chief Vera Bumpers.

He mostly committed offenses like not paying the fare.

The victim's father complained about the assault on the Nextdoor app, and complained the METRO line is getting dangerous to ride, and other riders agree.  

Some lines pass through areas heavily populated by vagrants who can hop on and off the cars and sometimes harass riders.

The METRO police chief says they heavily patrol the lines and are adding more than 20 new officers to the system by January. She says they have an app now, MPDconnect, that allows people to text, live chat or call dispatchers if there's a problem. She insists the lines are safe and some riders told us they agree.

"I felt safe. Nobody talked to us. People smiled and that was it," said rider Helen Spyra.