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Rider's Almanac Blog

Rider Information Safety Transit Police

What to know about using Text for Safety

Posted by Joshua Nichols | Thursday, February 15, 2024 6:17:00 AM

Have you ever been on a bus or a train and felt unsafe or saw something that just didn’t look right? 

Calling or texting 911 is always the best way to report an emergency or an in-progress crime, but if you don’t feel comfortable making that call due to concerns for your personal safety, you can silently report issues using our Text for Safety service. 

The service, available by texting 612-900-0411 or via our mobile app, is intended to report non-emergency situations anywhere in our system, whether you’re on a bus, on a train or at a transit shelter. 

Your text will come into our Transit Control Center, where a real, live human will respond 24/7. Those call takers will pass the gathered information onto our dispatchers, who alert police or medics to help with the situation. 

We want that process to be as smooth and frustration-free as possible. To that end, there are several important things to keep in mind when texting in: 


This is the single most important piece of information because even if you can't text anything else, we at least know where to send help or where to check cameras.

If the issue is on a train, let us know the three-digit train car number, which can be found near the ceiling at the back or front of the train car or near the emergency call box. If you cannot locate the train car number, let us know where the train car is currently located, which direction it is headed and if you are in the lead, middle or rear car.

If you are on a bus, let us know the vehicle number, which most often can be found toward the front of the bus toward the ceiling. The bus route and direction it is headed can also be helpful, but we can find that information quickly via the vehicle number.

Otherwise, let us know which station or bus stop the issue is at, either via the stop identification number or the direction and intersection.


As concisely and clearly as possible, let us know what is happening that needs police/medical assistance. Are people smoking drugs or cigarettes? Is there verbal or physical altercation going on? Does somebody need medical help?


Let us know what the people involved look like, including as much details as possible to help officers identify them or for our Real Time Information Center personnel to locate them on camera. This generally includes race, gender, age and clothing details/colors. You can also include other identifying information, such as hair color or hairstyles, items they are carrying, tattoos, etc.

While we do have live cameras on trains and at transit stations and personnel who monitor them, your perspective is vital to helping locate the people involved as soon as possible.

It is important to get detailed descriptions of those involved. We will often hear, "It's the people smoking" or something similar. The problem with that is most times the illegal behavior stops as soon riders realize police are about to board the train or bus. Your descriptions and other details help officers identify the people involved even if they have stopped when officers arrive.

Follow-up questions

We will often ask follow-up questions. This does not slow down police/medical response because once we put a call through our Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD), our dispatchers will relay all pertinent information to responding personnel, allowing the call taker to continue to add more details to the call as needed.

Other questions we may ask, depending on the type of incident, include whether any weapons have been seen, if a person is breathing OK if it's a check welfare or medical issue, your description if officers will be looking to meet up with you.

Explore other ways to contact us