The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, which serves Pennsylvania counties including Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery and more, will add safety guides to stations and vehicles in an attempt to improve rider security.
The guides will remind users about the rules for riding, assist destination-less riders, and contact police when needed. They will also eventually take over the responsibilities of opening and closing the subway stations, which will allow police officers to conduct more patrols during the overnight hours.
Up to 88 guides will be assigned to patrol transit stations, vehicles and concourses.
The guides are part of SEPTA’s SCOPE (Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnerships and Engagement) initiative, which was launched last year to help with outreach to members of the vulnerable population who seek refuge on the system. Last September, the SEPTA Board approved adding more than 50 social workers to expand SCOPE. Social outreach specialists also patrol with SEPTA Transit Police officers.
“While the guides will not replace police officers or serve an enforcement role, they will act as a force multiplier and contribute to the overall security of the system,” said SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III. “Meanwhile, we continue to actively recruit qualified officers to boost our ranks.”
SEPTA will provide specialized training for the guides to ensure they are equipped with the necessary resources to best serve riders.