As she waited for a Metro train in Hollywood, Maritza Mancilla shielded herself behind the escalator bringing passengers down into the fluorescent lit underground.
She wanted to see the newcomers before they could see her.
The 55-year-old, who relies on public transportation to get to her job as a house cleaner, has seen fights break out on the train. She’s seen a man attempt to open the car doors while they were in motion. At the Hollywood/Western Metro station earlier this year, a man exposed himself to her.
“If I could work from home, I would,” she said.
With the pandemic easing and lockdowns lifted, a return to normalcy has come with benefits: increased economic activity, more people going back to work and school and holiday gatherings and social interactions.
But on the Los Angeles public transit system — where ridership has rebounded to about 843,000 weekday daily riders from a pandemic low of about 363,800 — normal has also brought with it a rise in crime.