SEPTA’s Board today approved a new program that will add “Guides” to serve as ambassadors on the system.
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.
The guides will remind customers 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.
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our riders and employees,” said SEPTA Board President Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “The guides will act as additional eyes and ears on SEPTA.”
The Board awarded contracts to three firms – Extrity, LLC; Scotlandyard Security Services, Inc.; and The Philadelphia Protection Unit, LLC. The services are for one year, with SEPTA options for two additional years. These contracts will replace the current security guard arrangement with Allied Universal.
“We greatly appreciate the Board’s support for the guide program,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “It is our hope that this new approach will help reduce quality-of-life complaints and make our system more welcoming to riders.”
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.