SEPTA and ELERTS Corp., the leading provider of See Something Say Something mobile apps for transit agencies, today announced the public release of ‘SEPTA Transit Watch,’ a mobile app that empowers riders to discreetly report security or safety issues to SEPTA Transit Police in less than 20 seconds.
Public transit agencies face the challenging task of protecting their riders, employees, and property. In response, transportation organizations are now utilizing the highly valuable information source known as crowd-sourced reporting — with smartphones everywhere, getting real-time, incoming information from riders makes a critical difference for responding personnel.
“We count on our customers to help be the eyes and ears of the system, and the SEPTA Transit Watch app now gives them a valuable tool to communicate directly with our police officers,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “This effort also enhances our overall “Make the Safe Choice” System Safety campaign by making it easier for riders to share tips that could end up saving a life.”
The SEPTA Transit Watch app is available as a free download on both the Apple and Android stores. To learn how to access the app, visit https://www.septa.org/safety/septa-transit-watch.html. The app’s features include:
- Incident reporting — including photo/video, a description of what is being observed, and the GPS location of the problem.
- Discretion — riders may choose to send reports anonymously and a rider’s smartphone flash is automatically turned off when taking a photo.
- Two-way communication — SEPTA Police dispatcher may ask questions or provide instructions to the rider.
- BOLO alerts — “Be On the Look Out” messages may be sent to riders, regarding a person of interest being sought, such as a missing person or a criminal suspect.
“In our ever-changing world, it is imperative to use the most current technology designed to deliver the best protection. SEPTA understands the value that crowdsourcing brings to transit safety and recognized that ELERTS’ experience could help them quickly launch an app for their riders,” said Ed English, CEO, ELERTS. “We are proud to be SEPTA’s technology partner to further extend their longstanding reputation for safety innovation, and to empower their riders — who are often the first to see issues — to easily report security incidents. SEPTA is truly delivering the best in twenty-first-century transit policing.”
SEPTA Transit Watch is not just for customers with smartphones. Those with old-style flip phones can use “Text A Tip,” which allows them to reach SEPTA Transit Police with a simple text message to (215) 234-1911. SEPTA Transit Watch also furthers the authority’s commitment to accessibility. The app provides a new way for the deaf and hard of hearing community to communicate with SEPTA Police. Additionally, the app includes visually-impaired functionality.
SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III said the Transit Police Department is looking forward to starting a new dialogue with riders through SEPTA Transit Watch.
“SEPTA Transit Watch opens up an exciting new channel of communication with our riders,” Nestel said. “We expect it will provide invaluable real-time information that will enhance safety and security throughout the transit system.”