Like on all big cities' transit systems, SEPTA riders can often encounter unpredictable and even dangerous situations during their morning commute.
Now, there's an app for that.
“SEPTA Transit Watch" is a new, free mobile app for iPhone and Android "that empowers riders to discreetly report security or safety issues to SEPTA Transit Police in less than 20 seconds," SEPTA announced Wednesday.
SEPTA police already closely monitor social media for issues on transit lines, and have phone lines open for passengers to call in. But sometimes when you witness a crime or a dangerous activity, there isn't time to make a phone call or compose a tweet, SEPTA officials said.
SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel said they want to keep making it easier for riders to share tips that could end up saving a life.”
“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,” Knueppel said.
"Riders can use the app to text information about an incident they are seeing directly to SEPTA Police dispatchers," SEPTA said in a press release.
Riders can send a text message or snap a photo and send it straight to transit police headquarters.
"To ensure discretion," according to SEPTA, the app automatically disables "flash" on smartphones when you take a photo of suspicious activity. Riders can indicate their location when they send in the report, and they can choose to remain anonymous if they so desire.
Police can also send questions or instructions back to the passenger using the app's two-way texting service. And police can send "Be on the Lookout" alerts, such as for a missing child, to the app's users.
SEPTA partnered with ELERTS Corp., which has provided “See Something, Say Something” mobile apps to other transit agencies, to create this app.
The app comes in English, Spanish, French and Chinese. To get the new app, search "SEPTA Transit Watch" in Google Play or on the App Store.