The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) infused $20 million into over-the-road bus security in the United States, providing 67 grants ranging in size from $10,168 to $5 million to coach companies and industry associations.
The grants will be used to address a wide variety of security needs, including driver protection, vehicle tracking and communications, passenger and baggage screening and security assessments.
The funding will also be used for infrastructure enhancements such as fencing, lighting and surveillance equipment at facilities where buses are parked and maintained.
Applicants were required to detail specific vulnerabilities and the costs associated with securing them. Grantees will be monitored by TSA program officers to ensure that they stay within budgetary and operational guidelines.
Greyhound Lines was the beneficiary of nearly half of the overall sum. It received three grants worth a total of more than $9 million. The largest grant, for $5 million, is designated for enhancement of driver protection, which could include the installation of shields or isolation booths.
Greyhound spokeswoman Kim Plaskett said the company is working with Motor Coach Industries on the design of a driver shield that could be installed in all of the carrier’s 2,300 coaches. Greyhound also received a $2.6 million grant for purchase of screening equipment such as metal detectors and hand-held metal wanding devices.
The U.S. motorcoach industry’s two major associations — the American Bus Association (ABA) and the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) — also received grant funding.
The TSA awarded grants of $773,614 and $841,330 to the ABA and UMA, respectively. Both associations will use the funds to conduct industry security assessments and develop plans to train coach companies to recognize and respond to criminal attacks and terrorist threats. The funds will also be used to improve passenger screening and baggage inspection.
A list of the 67 projects can be dowloaded at www.tsa.gov/interweb/