PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA says it is adding more security to keep employees and riders safe. It comes following several attacks in subway stations. Some of them were captured on surveillance video and are hard to watch.
The transit union president says SEPTA has not been transparent when it comes to riders and employees being attacked. He’s glad to see more safety measures in place but says more needs to be done.
“We’ve lost control of the subway, and it’s a very dangerous place to be right now,” Local 234 Union President Willie Brown said.
After a series of brutal attacks, stricter safety protocols are being considered for SEPTA workers and its riders.
“There are mob attacks down there of people walking. Not just the members, we don’t leave the riding public but it’s a danger for everybody so we need more eyes and help for the police,” Brown said.
According to a SEPTA spokesperson, 60 unarmed security guards are being hired to help secure portions of the Market-Frankford Line, which has seen a majority of the problems.
A new vulnerable population action team will also respond as needed throughout the system to address the challenges surrounding homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness.
SEPTA riders are welcoming of the new safety measures.
“For some people, it would be better. I would want my mom to be safe on the train if she was catching the train,” North Philly resident Hakeem Hisler said.
“I like the 60 employees that would work on train routes, trolly routes, I do like that,” West Philly resident Andrew Brasfield said.
SEPTA has yet to secure a security firm, but we’re told they are actively working on it. The union president is also urging SEPTA to invest in more video surveillance.
“We need to invest more money into that and to make that work you need to be more transparent when these things happen so that you’re not walking down in the subway thinking everything is OK and someone jumps on you,” Brown said.
The guards are expected to be in place by the end of March or early April.