The Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) is launching a simple-to-use app available for iOS and Android devices, which will allow riders to easily report crimes, suspicious items or activities on the BART system.

Riders have been asking for a safe, silent and discreet way to communicate with BART when they are on a train or in a station and this new application will make that happen.

Riders can use BART Watch to send a text description of what they are seeing and/or attach a picture. Or, there is a "one tap" button that will connect them with BART Police by phone. Text reports may be sent anonymously. If they are in an area without cellular service, the report will be stored and delivered as soon as there is service again.

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Simple pull-down menus let riders choose the report type they would like to send, such as crime in progress, illegally parked vehicle, disruptive behavior, robbery/theft, unattended bag or package, vandalism and more. There is a "Test" option that lets users practice with the app before an emergency. Reports go directly to BART Police dispatch and are prioritized for response.

The app also allows BART Police to send alerts to riders in emergencies such as a lost child. BART is the first system with this technology to offer versions in Spanish and Chinese.

In March, The BART Board of Directors approved a multi-year contract with ELERTS Corp., which has created similar apps for other U.S. transit agencies including Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

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