Cops, Courts and Fire Transportation

Public Transit Commuters Have New Way To Report Problems

Passengers boarding a SEPTA train in Bucks County.
Credit: Erich Martin/

Commuters on SEPTA now have a mobile device app to allow discreet reporting of security or safety issues to transit police.

In less than 20 seconds, riders can use the SEPTA Transit Watch app to communicate problems to authorities. The information goes in real-time to SEPTA officials.

“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 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 free Android and Apple app, according to SEPTA, includes the following features:

  • 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.

“SEPTA Transit Watch opens up an exciting new channel of communication with our riders,” transit police Chief Thomas Nestel said. “We expect it will provide invaluable real-time information that will enhance safety and security throughout the transit system.”

For those with older-style flip phones, SEPTA operates a “Text a Tip” number where riders can send SEPTA Transit Police information. That number is 215-234-1911.

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