Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer proposed "no-ride" lists for U.S. domestic trains, similar to the no-fly lists used in aviation, following intelligence discovered at Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan.
During the raid earlier this month at Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, members of the Navy SEALS discovered information amid the DVDs, flash drives and hard drives that indicated Al Qaeda was considering sabotaging a U.S. passenger train on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 as it travelled over a valley or a bridge.
Even though a 2004 bipartisan Sept. 11 commission recommended the government check passengers' names against terror watch lists before they board passenger trains or cruise ships, that procedure has yet to be implemented, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Sen. Schumer said he wants Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to increase the Secure Flight Program to include rail travel.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Huffington Post, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood failed to endorse Sen. Schumer's proposal, noting that Amtrak already screens its passenger list before boarding.
"Amtrak checks that to make sure that these people are legit people," LaHood said. "They look at the list and then they check to see if somebody's name looks peculiar. They have that manifest there and they can check it out if they want to. They know who is boarding trains."
Despite these measures being in place, the Huffington Post article did also mention that LaHood has met with Sen. Schumer and is ready to work with other members of Congress to improve passenger train safety.
Meanwhile around the nation, larger metropolitan cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, have stepped up their security measures fearing retaliation for the killing of Osama bin Laden; however, these systems do not have the luxury of a "no-ride" list. Therefore, I am wondering, whether it's a terrorist attack or not, are our nation's public transit systems, including Amtrak, really ready for a major catastrophe?
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Raising the bar with bus simulation training" here.
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.