SEPTA’s board has greenlighted a new program in which “guides” will remind people about the rules for riding, assist destination-less riders, and contact police when needed.
The guides are part of SEPTA’s Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnerships and Engagement initiative, launched last year to help with outreach to vulnerable people who seek refuge on the system, the transit agency said in a press release.
Up to 88 guides will be assigned to stations and vehicles along the Broad Street and Market-Frankford Lines, as well as the concourses in Center City, SEPTA said. It added that the guides will receive specialized training “to ensure they are equipped with the necessary resources to best serve riders.”
“It is our hope that this new approach will help reduce quality-of-life complaints and make our system more welcoming to riders,” SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie Richards said in a written statement.
Three firms will be in charge of providing the guides: Extrity, LLC; Scotlandyard Security Services, Inc.; and The Philadelphia Protection Unit, LLC. The contract is for one year, though there will be an option for two additional years, SEPTA said.
The guides will eventually be in charge of opening and closing the subway stations, which SEPTA said will free police officers to conduct more patrols in the overnight hours.
“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,” SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel said in a written statement.