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Guardian Angel Campaign Urges Safety Around Transit

We all do it, a countless little thing that seems so harmless.

Returning just one more text while walking down the street. Listening with our ear buds while we cross the light rail tracks to save a few feet. Running alongside a bus to get the operator’s attention. After all, we’re busy. Or we’re late for the staff meeting, late for our shift again, late for class again.

Stand near a light rail station or a bus stop and you may view the disregard for tons of moving machinery. Why? Some of us have become too complacent around transit. We’re going through the motions, taking safety for granted. We all think we’re immune. The truth is, we’re not, and there have been plenty of accidents to remind us.

Sun Devil Promotion CampaignThat’s why Valley Metro launched a new “Guardian Angel” safety campaign. It’s a fun campaign with a serious message to be more mindful around light rail and buses – and to give your overworked Guardian Angel a break.

Guardian Angels will be popping up around town on billboards, at bus stops, and at light rail stops. There’s even a quiz you can take at to see what kind of Guardian Angel you need based on your habits.

We’re not trying to be preachy. But we care, and the whole community needs to do our part to stay diligent and safe.

Valley Metro watches every day as people dart across streets trying to outrun the moving trains and buses. Although sleek and safe, transit vehicles can’t stop as quickly as a passenger car. It’s a stressful situation for rail and bus operators, who must drive defensively and remain keenly aware.

“Passengers take their safety for granted. It’s a testament to the safe, professional bus operators that we have out there,” said Jim Jones, Interim Safety and Training Manager for First Transit, which operates buses in the southeast Valley for Valley Metro.

What’s the one thing Valley Metro rail contractor, ACI Rail Operations Project Manager Bruce Browne, would change about people’s behavior around bus and rail stops?

“I’d want folks to slow down,” he said. “I see people completely discount their own safety to try and get on the next train or bus. Remember, there is very likely another train or bus coming behind that one, and there is no need to put yourself or others in harm’s way to board a transit vehicle.”

Jones said he wished people “would be more cautious and stand back until the bus stops, realizing the dangers of having a bus pull so close to people.”
The new campaign aims to keep college students focused on being aware at all times. . The safety concerns are obvious as hundreds of students stream near bus and rail routes by Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses every day.

“Our trains are very quiet. If you are walking around texting, looking down with ear buds in your ears, and you are not paying attention to the trains you may find yourself wandering in front of a moving vehicle that cannot stop as quickly as we would all like,” Browne said.

Two other concerns: Distracted drivers who aren’t paying attention to transit vehicles and routes, and children drifting away from their parents.

“I can’t tell you how many times we see children running on platforms as trains are pulling into stations,” Browne said. “Keep children close and you reduce the risk of children being hurt or separated from their parents. There’s no worse feeling than having your child run into the train and have the doors close, and the child is on the train and the parent is on the platform.”

And if you are running late for that big meeting or class, try to keep things in perspective. Like Browne says, “Being late is better than getting hurt.”

“Be safe around the transit system,” Jones added. “Plan ahead and please don’t risk your life to catch the bus. There is always another bus coming.”

Learn more about ways to be safe around public transportation here

Follow these simple rules!

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