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Amtrak launches texting hotline to help customers report suspicious activity

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Amtrak (STOCK)
Amtrak (STOCK)

Amtrak passengers have an interesting new option when it comes to reporting suspicious packages, activities, or emergencies on trains: if you see something, text something. The company has launched a new SMS hotline that allows riders to discreetly contact authorities should trouble arise. All it takes is texting APD11 (feature phones can send messages to 27311) with your emergency, and you’ll immediately receive an acknowledgement of your report and be put in touch with a police communications officer. From there, you can covertly describe what's gone wrong, and authorities will presumably make their way to the train in a hurry. "Safety is in your hands, too" reads a new notice advising travelers of the "txt-a-tip" initiative.

"Our passengers and frontline employees provide an extra line of defense by being an additional set of eyes and ears while in or around our stations, trains, facilities, or right-of-way," said Amtrak police chief Polly Hanson in a press release. But under what conditions is it appropriate to thumb out a report? Amtrak seems confident that customers will have enough sense to recognize the right moments. ""People should trust their gut, follow their instincts, and report anything that just doesn’t seem right," said Hanson.