Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Get 'In-Tune' with your Transit Surroundings

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Public Information Manager

It only takes an instant - an instant to check an email, make a phone call, send a text or turn up the music's volume. But that one instant could impact your life forever.

"Our Safety and Transit Police Officers are responding to more cases of 'distracted commuting' - people talking and texting on their phones, listening to their music loudly and not paying attention to where they are going," said SEPTA System Safety Director Scott Sauer. "They are stepping off of curbs in front of buses and off of platforms, falling into the track area at our stations. The preoccupation with phones and electronic devices can make a routine commute very dangerous. But these incidents are easily preventable."

Surveillance cameras often show commuters (some impaired or under the influence, others talking or texting on their phones or otherwise distracted) walking past the yellow warning strip and landing into the track area. "That is especially troubling on the subway and subway-elevated lines, where not only is the drop from the platform to the track about four feet, there is an electrified third rail," said Sauer. "And in many cases, our trains are just minutes from entering the stations where the falls had just occurred."

To bring the public's attention to the hazards created when someone does not pay attention to their surroundings - especially at bus stops, transit centers and train stations - SEPTA dedicated the efforts of its second annual system-wide "Make the Safe Choice" Safety Day to distracted commuting. On May 21, 500 Authority employees distributed educational materials and answered safety questions at 150 SEPTA rail, trolley and bus stations, loops and transportation centers throughout the Authority's five-county service area during the morning and evening rush hours.

"Today, we're taking our safety message to the next level," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey at a press conference at Frankford Transportation Center, the Authority's busiest multi-modal transit hub, where more than 38,000 riders board buses, trackless trolleys and the Market-Frankford Line every day. "We hope by reaching out directly to our riders we can prevent an avoidable tragedy."

One of the goals of Safety Day is to create awareness for both riders and non-SEPTA customers. This year, the Authority targeted young riders and future commuters with a new video and website starring the Phillie Phanatic. The big green guy joined Sauer when SEPTA debuted the video and website at St. Francis Assisi Grade School in Springfield, Delaware County. Not one of many words, the Phanatic showed off his fancy dance moves and the safety lessons he learned when making the video.

"We enlisted the help of one of our area's most beloved mascots to help us deliver our important safety messages in a fun way children can relate to," said Sauer. "Because everyone loves the Phanatic, we think the video will have a wide appeal, which will in turn help reduce the number of distracted commuters and trespassers on the SEPTA system."

To view SEPTA safety tips and the new video starring the Phillie Phanatic, click here.

"Today, we're taking our safety message to the next level," said SEPTA GM Joe Casey, pictured at the Safety Day press conference at Frankford Transportation Center.

The Phillie Phanatic joined SEPTA System Safety Director Scott Sauer at St. Francis Assisi School, where they debuted the Authority's new safety video and reviewed safe commuting tips.

Assistant General Mananger of Engineering, Maintenance and Construction Bob Lund greeted Regional Rail riders at Bryn Mawr Station.

Assistant General Manager of Operations Ron Hopkins marked Safety Day by handing out leaflets to commuters using 69th Street Transportation Center.

This wrapped bus is travelling across the Authority's service area, reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings and "make the safe choice".