‘Help is a text away’: GO Train passengers handed flyers to promote transit security

Metrolinx has added a new text safety service to give riders a discreet way to report a crime. Melissa Nakhavoly has the details.

By Lucas Casaletto

Metrolinx is doing its part to ensure transit riders are safe as flyers advertising enhanced security measures through a texting service are being handed out to commuters.

The flyers read, “Safety is at your fingertips. Text ‘HELP’ to 7-7-7-7-7. Help is a text away.”

Metrolinx says the new text service provides GO Train passengers with “a more discreet way to report safety concerns.” In a news release, Metrolinx says that once a text is sent, the customer protective services team will reply to the text within 90 seconds.

“If needed, the team can assist by dispatching support or local police services,” the transit agency noted. “This provides a discreet, fast, and effective way to request assistance while on board or at stations without drawing attention in moments when one may feel vulnerable.”

The service is offered throughout the Metrolinx network — on trains and buses, at stations and bus loops, and with GO Transit and UP Express.

RELATED: ‘Police do not prevent violence’ — Attacks continue on TTC despite presence of cops, security

Metrolinx notes that customers should send text-only (SMS) messages. Only text messages without images or video can be received at this time.

The safety handouts come in the wake of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) implementing safety protocols due to a significant increase in violent attacks targeting riders and employees. This includes Toronto police patrolling the transit network and the presence of security guards, among other measures.

The police enhancement has been welcomed by some transit users, who said the officers’ presence made them feel safer. In contrast, others said more police in the system would not address the deteriorating social conditions that could be at the root of the situation.

Since Friday, there have been multiple reported attacks, including two robberies and two assaults, in line with the ongoing brutality affecting the city’s transit system before the TTC announced the latest protection efforts.

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