Securing a safe and comfortable ride is fundamental to a transit agency and communication with customers is vital. Valley Metro is improving and expanding communication with its customers by utilizing a new, free mobile app, AlertVM.
The app allows customers to remain anonymous and feel safe reporting incidents. Most passengers are already on their phones, so a customer reporting an incident by phone is inconspicuous. Before the app, riders could report incidents by either using the POIC (Passenger Operator Intercom Console) on the train or notifying the nearest security officer. With the app, sharing incident information is quick and discreet.
“Safety of our customers is our top priority. Reporting incidents using the app allows us to target and respond to incidents much more quickly, while also deterring behaviors not allowed on our system,” says Adrian Ruiz, Valley Metro’s Director of Safety, Security and Quality Assurance. The app allows customers to report various incidents occurring on Valley Metro Rail or at stations. AlertVM provides categories of incident types to choose from along with the option of attaching a photo or video. The app provides users the option to call 911 to report an emergency. Not only is the app used for reporting incidents, it is also a tool for Valley Metro to send notifications about light rail delays and service impacts to all riders who subscribe.
One user commented, “I just want to say I have been riding the light rail to work and back since it opened. I have noticed better behavior on the light rail since you implemented this application to report problems and more frequent pass checks.” It’s not just the app that’s creating a better riding experience, but the users of the app who are essential for its success. The more passengers that download and use the app to report incidents, the more we can improve everyone’s experience.
As a console operator of the app and rider of the light rail, I’ve witnessed how useful it is. I’ve seen a variety of customer reports since the release of AlertVM. Riders are alerting us to ticket vending machine issues, unattended bags, wellness checks for other passengers, clean-up requests, lost and found inquiries, and even giving compliments about Valley Metro employees.
As the Valley Metro system extends into new areas, AlertVM will become a critical tool for riders. Other transit agencies like SEPTA in Philadelphia, MBTA in Boston, TTC in Toronto, and BART in San Francisco, have already successfully utilized the same mobile app for their services. Using mobile apps to enhance safety and security is becoming the next trend in customer service and safety and Valley Mero is following suit.
Download the AlertVM mobile app here: https://www.valleymetro.org/alertvm