News Views: SkyTrain text alerts great, now buses

SkyTrain just got a little safer with the introduction of text messaging to alert security when problems occur on the line.

Passengers can now send texts to a security dispatcher (at 87-77-77) if they see a problem in addition to pressing the yellow strip above windows that triggers a silent alarm.

While the yellow strip is a good idea, and has been used for a long time to summon one of 200 Transit Police or other personnel, texting is much more discreet and won’t draw attention as much as some people fear.

Already, the force has reported that it has received numerous texts with good tips, particularly ones related to sexual offences, which is good news for women traveling alone on SkyTrain.

Allowing people another option to reporting trouble or reporting when they feel threatened is a sensible strategy, especially in this day and age when many transit riders are literally plugged in anyways on cellphones as they ride the train.

Still, both passengers and police have to use a bit of common sense and discretion.

Some overly sensitive riders could get carried away by falsely reporting what they perceive as threatening situations.

TransLink police, in turn have to make sure they tailor their response to the situation and don’t end up on wild goose chases on false calls which could lead to eventual downgrading of responses.

More urgently however, if this service is not available to bus riders, it must be soon.

With TransLink bus drivers regularly getting beat up, and too few cops to stop it, giving bus riders another way to contact police when the cowards strike would be a step forward.

– The News


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