Report a Problem, Get 10% of the Fine

Nudging Up Customer Service: Externally-Dependent Project

Problem, Classification, and Idea

Many prohibited activities take place within the SEPTA system on a daily basis. Customers smoke, drink, stand too close to platform edges, etc. One of the reasons for these acts occurring relates to the inability of the SEPTA Police Force to monitor and be at every portion of every station at any given moment. In order to assist the police in catching these criminals and/or encouraging customers to report when they see a problem, customers who report an issue should be eligible to receive a portion of the fines paid by the arrestee.


Utilizing the Police Text Messaging system, customers would be able to text-in a problem they are witnessing. If SEPTA police are able to use that information to catch someone, such as someone smoking on the platform, the person who witnessed the incident would be eligible to receive 10% of the fine either in cash or in the form of stored value on their SEPTA NPT card. Implementing this would again only be a question of signage. Several problems do need to be addressed first, though. The issue of placing an undue burden on customers might appear, as well as questions of creating a “policing” culture.

Notes & Graphics

Interestingly, according to Chief Nestel, absolutely no money goes to SEPTA when a fine is issued by a SEPTA police officer. In order for such an initiative to be created, SEPTA would either have to pay the money out of pocket (unlikely to be worthwhile in terms of cost) or have the state legislature pass an amendment establishing this sort of “reward” program.


Next Steps

  • Speak with legal to determine if this is a possibility.
  • Conduct a survey to see just how much some of these issues, such as smoking on platforms, disturb passengers.