In response to its ongoing commitment to addressing the safety issues surrounding the region’s public transit system and in an effort to help build confidence in a safe and secure ride, the transit advocacy organization Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT) announced the launch of a program with the smartphone application SafeTrek. Through this initiative, CMT members and registered transit users will be able to gain access to the personal safety app, which enables individuals who feel unsafe to notify law enforcement officials without having to call 911 or knowing their precise locations, which can prove tricky when traveling on a bus or train.
“While countless commuters utilize public transit on a daily basis and have a little, if any, cause for concern – incidents have occurred on the system and are being taken seriously,” said Kimberly Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “We, therefore, want to help transit users be proactive when it comes to their personal safety. Our hope is that they will take advantage of the opportunity to gain free access to this app, download it and never have to use it. However, should they find themselves in danger they can have peace of mind knowing immediate, real-time access to emergency personnel is only a few touches away.”
SafeTrek can be accessed anywhere in the United States on both iOS and Android devices, and is user-friendly and simplistic. If an individual is scared, he or she just opens the SafeTrek app and holds his or her thumb on the “hold until safe” button. Once safe, the button can be released, and the individual will be prompted to enter his or her four-digit pin. But, if an individual’s instincts turn into a real emergency, the user simply releases the button and refrains from entering a pin. A series of texts is then sent to assess the situation, and if the user doesn’t respond within 60 seconds, SafeTrek sends help to their exact location.
“We can get seemingly everything at the push of a button these days, except when it comes to help in an emergency – then, we’re still expected to pick up our phone, dial 911 and talk,” said Nick Droege, co-founder of SafeTrek, a St. Louis based tech company that has handled 40,000+ emergencies since its founding in 2013. “Placing a phone call is not an option in all emergencies, and in those instances, it’s nearly impossible for 911 to locate an individual and get them the help they need. SafeTrek is able to pinpoint a user’s exact location and live streams it directly to 911 dispatchers, and first responders, even if the user is unable to place a call or text. This can prove to be particularly helpful to those in transit.”
From the second an alert is triggered through SafeTrek, to the moment police arrive, the company’s personnel provides text and on-call support. And, while police are automatically sent in every emergency, an ambulance or fire truck can be dispatched if need be.
Mary Blaies, CMT Ten Toe Walk Leader in IL, “I think it is another level of security for transit riders. You have somebody in your hands to help you outside the actual train just in case. I think it is great. I am responsible for the seniors on the IL Ten Toe group, and I now have another tool to keep them safe. They don’t have the phones, but they are now more confident too!”
Both CMT members and registered transit users can download SafeTrek free of charge by visiting safetrekapp.com/cmt. Those who are interested and utilize transit, but have not registered their commute with CMT, can do so free of charge here. Membership information is also available on the website.