Transportation

Transit App Aims to Bolster Rider Safety, Experience

The St. Louis Metro Transit has launched a smartphone app, in partnership with the startup SafeTrek, that allows riders to immediately notify law enforcement if they need help.

by Brian Feldt, St. Louis Post-Dispatch / April 9, 2018
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(TNS) — Battling a public perception that serious crime on the St. Louis Metro Transit system is a growing problem, Metro on Monday announced it has contracted with the startup SafeTrek to provide commuters a more secure experience.

Public transit riders will now be able to utilize the app in the event of an emergency when commuting on the MetroLink or MetroBus, or while at a Metro Transit Center. The app lets users notify law enforcement agencies if Metro riders are in need of help.

“While serious crime on the Metro system is rare, perception is reality for some of our customers. We want our riders to know their safety is very important to us and we want them to feel safe when they are taking Metro Transit,” said Ray Friem, executive director of Metro Transit, in a statement. “We are very excited to offer this new tool to our transit riders, free of charge, to give them peace of mind that no matter where they are in the St. Louis region, emergency help is as close as their fingertip.”

The app lets users hold down a button on their smartphones if they feel at risk or in danger. When a user no longer feels unsafe, they release the button and enter a pin number to verify they are no longer in harm's way. If they don't enter the pin number, police are contacted with the user's name, information and location.

Downtown STL Inc., a downtown St. Louis booster group, contracted with the company in a similar deal. And Washington University provides the SafeTrek app for free to all students, faculty and staff.

The startup moved from San Diego to St. Louis in 2016 and has since received investment from local venture capital firms - it most recently raised $3.2 million.

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