NEWARK, NJ (AP / CBSNewYork) – New Jersey Transit passengers can now send text messages to alert authorities about suspicious activity and get schedule information on their phones.

The nation’s third-largest transit system on Thursday announced its “Text Tips” or “Text Against Terror” initiative.

NJ Transit Police Chief Christopher Trucillo says passengers and employees are the first line of defense in the war against terror. The chief says the program harnesses the prevalence of text-messaging among customers.

Passengers can text NJTPD or 65873.

Customers are encouraged to provide as much information as possible, such as the location and nature of the suspicious activity or package.

They may receive a follow-up text message for more information.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney In Newark

Also announced Wednesday is that Hudson-Bergen Light Rail schedule information can now be sent to handheld devices by text message.

For that information, simply call 973-275-5555 or text your light rail station ID to 69287. To find out the light rail station ID number, click HERE.

“We’re engaging the public,” says Trucillo.

“We’ve gotta figure out ways to make those tools that people use in their day-to-day lives now, whether it’s a phone or a iPad or an iPhone or texting… to use that to facilitate and make travel in our system easier,” says New Jersey Transit executive director Jim Weinstein.

He says they’ll be rolling out an ad campaign to let riders know about the new security and light rail schedule texting features.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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