Toronto transit riders can now text to report TTC safety concerns

By Lucas Casaletto

With Toronto police reducing the number of officers patrolling TTC subway stations, the transportation operator is introducing a new texting service.

The TTC announced that customers can now text 647-496-1940 through “SMS text a tip” and choose to use to report safety concerns and submit details and images.

“The TTC must be safe for everyone — for all riders and for all employees,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie. “I support the ongoing work by the TTC with their community partners to increase safety on the transit system.”

TTC riders can also use the SafeTTC app, free on iOS and Android devices. The app lets users report a problem directly to the TTC’s Transit Control Centre by sending text, photos or videos or calling 911 in an emergency.

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A TTC spokesperson said that in an emergency, riders are encouraged to use the yellow emergency alarm strip on the vehicles, speak to a TTC employee or police officer, or use the Designated Waiting Area intercom on the platform to contact staff.

“Safety of customers and employees is paramount to all the TTC does,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary.

“We want to ensure that anyone who witnesses or is a victim of a security incident on the TTC has an easily accessible method to report the incident directly to our Transit Control Centre. We will continue to work with all stakeholders on ways we can make the TTC as safe as possible for customers and employees.”

Police had announced in late January that more than 80 officers working overtime shifts would patrol various locations on the TTC. That came after a series of violent cases on the TTC, including stabbings, BB gun shootings and an alleged swarming.

Police Chief Myron Demkiw said Monday that the increased police presence since late January resulted in 314 arrests and officers giving more than 220 referrals to people needing social support like shelter, food and mental health services.

Officers will be visible in the transit system, but they’ll already be on duty and working within regular hours. Overtime shifts on the TTC could resume in the future “if deemed necessary,” police said.

With files from The Canadian Press

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