Blue Light, Red Buttons Enhance METRO Passenger Safety

Press Release New Metro Going Places

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Release Date:       August 19, 2014

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The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. Besides operating more than 1,200 buses, METRO is currently expanding its 13-mile Red Line with two new lines under construction. METRO’s services also include: Star Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride, and road improvement projects. Learn more about METRO services at where you will also find information about our T.R.I.P. app and the new digital, interactive rider tool METRO 360 [take a seat].


Blue Light Signals Emergency Help for METRORail and Bus Patrons

Talkaphone at Coffee Plant Station
Blue Light Signals a Talkaphone Tower

Look for a blue light in an emergency at METRO light-rail stations and Park & Ride lots - then press the red button and stay on the line with emergency responders.

Have you noticed a blue light radiating from towers at METRO rail stations? The glow is actually designed to get your attention – and that of emergency responders – when you need them.

The TalkAPhone devices replace payphones and act as single-touch emergency call stations – connecting users METRO dispatch personnel-24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

METRO Police Chief Tim Kelly said the service provided through these stands is welcomed by passengers and law enforcement officials alike. “In an emergency, the button is pushed and the light changes from steady blue to flashing. The individual is immediately connected with METRO police dispatch personnel at Houston TranStar who will remain with him/her until an appropriate resolution is reached. That means riders have a direct line to help.”

Look for the blue light and then press the red button in an emergency

Touching the help (emergency) button on the brushed-metal plate is the equivalent of dialing 911. Users are cautioned to reserve this service for critical, life-threatening calls to police, ambulance and fire. “We want to make sure customers understand these phones are not for information service. They are designed to alert emergency responders to situations that need immediate attention,” explained Chief Kelly.

Walter Langford, program manager, has made a career of adapting technology for safety at METRO. The TalkAPhone, according to Langford, had a good track record at the Park & Ride lots where it was already installed.

The East End Line's Coffee Plant Station Will Offer Talkaphone Service for Emergencies

“METRO's IT Department first installed these security devices at our Park & Ride lots and found they worked well. Once the button is pushed it activates the alert system and can only be turned off by emergency responders. The units also assist law enforcement with audio and pictures from the scene.”

Close to 100 emergency alert poles are now placed throughout the METRO system, with nearly a third on the existing Red/Main St. Line. Other red emergency phone towers are located at Park & Ride lots and the Hillcroft and Cypress Transit Centers. All units are fully ADA accessible and include enunciator (speech) capabilities that can be programmed with live or recorded alerts to notify customers of situations that may require their attention.