Broward County Transit (BCT) is introducing “Transit Watch,” a public awareness campaign practiced nationwide by public transportation agencies to encourage the active education and participation of passengers and employees in maintaining a safe and secure transit environment.
“Transit Watch” was developed in 2003 by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). In 2005, the FTA and the Department of Homeland Security developed a follow-up initiative to determine levels of implementation of the program, and identified several key areas of importance within a transit agency’s public outreach efforts: Passengers can identify suspicious or unusual behavior, communicate with transit officials, and exit safely in the event of an emergency. It is estimated that more than 200 public transportation agencies across the United States have a "Transit Watch" program that is tailored to their community needs and profiles.
BCT's “Transit Watch” campaign has the slogan: Be Alert. Call 954-357-LOOK (5665). Tell Us. The designated telephone number is a direct line to the agency’s security manager. Passengers can use this number to report any suspicious or unusual behavior or package on or near the bus while waiting at a bus stop or at a transfer terminal. The “Transit Watch” telephone number is not intended for passengers to request route and schedule information, or to replace dialing 911 in the event of an immediate emergency situation.
“Among the steps that a public transportation system should have in place to address any suspicious behaviors and activities that are a threat to the safety of its passengers and employees is a program to provide as much information and education as possible,” said Robert Nelson, Director of the Broward County Transit Division. “Transit Watch is part of this program, as it alerts the public that BCT is aware and concerned about passenger safety at all times.”
Bus passengers will be educated on the “Transit Watch” campaign through an array of promotional resources that include trilingual brochures and interior and exterior bus signs, as well as media and bus shelter advertisements. A “Transit Watch” online video will soon be available at www.broward.org/bct.
Funding for the campaign is made possible through a Fiscal Year 2008 Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP), awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Broward County Transit, in the total amount of $1,023,000. Other projects funded under this 2008 TSGP grant will include perimeter fencing to improve security infrastructure at BCT’s Copans Road and Ravenswood Road bus garages, additional closed circuit television systems and tabletop exercises and functional drills for frontline operations and maintenance personnel.
For more information on “Transit Watch” call the Broward County Transit Communications and Customer Relations Section at 954-357-8355.