SEPTA today released a comprehensive plan, “Leading the Way: SEPTA’s Response to Safety and Security”, detailing its ongoing strategy for addressing safety, security and the challenges of the vulnerable population on its system. This population, which includes individuals experiencing homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues, has increased in recent years, prompting the authority to create its nationally recognized SCOPE program in 2021.
SCOPE, which stands for Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnership and Engagement, is SEPTA’s systemwide, coordinated effort to connect vulnerable individuals with social services and provide a safe, clean transit system for riders and employees. The new strategic plan lays out in detail what the problems facing the authority are, where they are on the system, and what SEPTA is doing about them. It also shows what every individual – from riders and employees to policymakers and the business community — can do to help.
“We are tackling some of the most difficult issues society faces, and we need the involvement of everyone in pursuing solutions,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “Our investment in SCOPE is critical to ensuring SEPTA can provide safe, secure and reliable service that supports our city and region through the current recovery and for the long-term.”
In its first year, SCOPE has mobilized scores of partners in government, the nonprofit and business sectors and academia to help address the challenges of the vulnerable population. The authority has also enhanced its security measures, increased its cleaning schedules, and vastly expanded the number of social service outreach workers on the system from seven to more than 50.
“As workers return to offices throughout the region, SEPTA will continue to rely on its SCOPE strategy to ensure that its system is safe, clean, reliable and efficient,” said SEPTA Chief Operating Officer Scott Sauer. “There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our riders, the vulnerable individuals on our system, and our 9,000-plus employees.”
“With SCOPE, we are working collaboratively to solve challenges that are upstream from SEPTA,” said Kenneth Divers, Director of Outreach Services for SEPTA. “We won’t stop until we’ve reached our goal: to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring.”
The SCOPE outreach personnel work in close coordination with the SEPTA Transit Police Department, which has increased patrols on trains and at stations in recent months.
“SEPTA knows that riders have concerns about safety and security on the system, and we are addressing them,” said Acting Police Chief Charles Lawson. “We have increased police visibility to deter crime, and we are closely monitoring feedback from our customers to respond to quality-of-life concerns.”
SEPTA will continue to release regular SCOPE impact reports that provide key performance indicators, such as the number of referrals of vulnerable individuals to services and the cleanliness scores of stations and platforms. To view the full plan, please visit www5.septa.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/scope.pdf.