Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Security Transit - Post 9/11

Americans will never forget the sad and tragic events they awoke to on Sept. 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks that took place that day fractured air travel as we knew it, and caused governments worldwide to find ways to prevent anything of this sort from happening again.
Part of the solution has been to fortify aviation security. However, the terrorist bombings in Madrid, London, and Mumbai, India, have shown that there is another potential target that has not yet been wholly addressed — public transit.
“It’s not any secret that the number of riders of mass transit is in the billions and the monies toward public transit security is in the millions,” says Polly Hanson, chief of Metro Transit Police for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). She adds that the reverse is true for aviation security, where there are millions of passengers every year and billions of dollars spent on security.
In fact, since 2001, the aviation industry has received $20 billion from the federal government for security measures compared to the transit industry’s $386 million. Those numbers seem out of joint when you consider that public transit systems in the U.S. carry more than 32 million passengers a day, which comes to roughly 16 times the number of air travelers.