In January 2023, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development reported over 650,000 homeless and vulnerable individuals across the United States, a figure that is alarmingly on the rise. Public transit systems often become unintended shelters for these unsheltered individuals, including vehicles, stations, and bus shelters.
The positive strides made by forward-thinking transit agencies, which collaborate with organizations to conduct wellness checks and extend support to these vulnerable populations, are commendable.
However, a significant hurdle remains: transit agencies and their partners can’t offer aid if they don’t know where these individuals are. ELERTS assists more than 30 transit agencies in pinpointing the location of vulnerable persons within their extensive transit networks. This is made possible through rider reports submitted via the See Say app, enabling dispatchers to deploy appropriate resources to each unique situation.
Rider discomfort arises when sharing transit space with homeless and vulnerable individuals, which can lead to a less than favorable perception of the transit experience. Without a swift and confidential reporting mechanism, riders may resort to expressing their grievances on social media, potentially tarnishing the transit agency’s reputation.
While empathy for those in need is common, encounters with vulnerable individuals during daily commutes—to work, school, or the market—can create distress for riders who prioritize safety and a positive transit experience.
ELERTS’ See Say app addresses this by offering riders across over 30 transit agencies a simple and private way to communicate their concerns. This not only reassures riders that their voice is heard but also facilitates the transit agencies in mobilizing resources to enhance the situation.
ELERTS Contact Information
We’re here to assist. For a discussion on how we can support you in managing the presence of homeless and vulnerable individuals within your transit system, please reach out to ELERTS.