SEPTA unveils Transit Watch mobile security app for riders

Katherine Scott Image
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
SEPTA unveils Transit Watch mobile security app
SEPTA unveils Transit Watch mobile security app. Katherine Scott reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on August 16, 2017.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- SEPTA has introduced a new way for riders to report security and safety issues.

The SEPTA Transit Watch mobile app was announced Wednesday morning at SEPTA headquarters in Center City Philadelphia.

The new app allows riders to discreetly report safety concerns or medical emergencies to SEPTA Transit Police.

SEPTA GM Jeffrey Knueppel said, "With smart phones everywhere getting real time, incoming information from riders makes a critical difference for police and other first responders."

The idea of this is to give riders a quick way to report safety concerns, medical emergencies, or suspicious activity on SEPTA vehicles or property to SEPTA transit police. You can key in a problem, specify what type and include a photo or video if you choose. It can take less than 20 seconds and it's discreet.

SEPTA Police Sergeant Michael Wright said, "A lot of people don't necessarily want to pick up the phone and get involved but people will send a text out."

A SEPTA police dispatcher is monitoring the reports and may ask questions or give instructions, be on the lookout. Alerts can also be sent out to riders if a missing person or suspect is being sought. SEPTA partnered with

e-lerts to develop this app.

It cost $254,000 for three years. They also talked with transit agencies in other cities about what works. The app also allows for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community to communicate more readily with the dispatchers in emergency situations.

Neil McDevitt from the Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre said, "Right now the ability to call through a mobile phone is limited to video connections and many people know brought the tunnels, you might not have a good connection for video."

Some riders aren't sure they will need it but many are open to using it.

Anthony Di of Logan said, "I think that's something I would use especially in this day and age with so much going on around the world. Definitely something we need to use in the city at this time."

The new app is a free download available for Apple and Android devices.


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