Management & Operations

Bus theft at Port Authority raises security concerns, questions

Posted on February 1, 2004

A motorcoach belonging to Peter Pan Bus Lines Inc. of Springfield, Mass., was stolen from a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) bus terminal and later found idling at New York’s Kennedy International Airport. This occurred shortly after the nation’s terror-alert level had been raised from yellow (elevated) to orange (high). On Dec. 27, Coach No. 700, a late-model MCI, was awaiting a service call to a maintenance facility in nearby Secaucus, N.J., after a passenger fell ill during a return trip from Washington, D.C. Because it was late at night on a Saturday, however, the facility was short on staff, so the coach remained at the bus terminal overnight. Unfortunately, sometime between those pre-dawn hours and the following day’s inventory check, an unauthorized person drove the bus out of the facility. The vehicle was not reported missing to PANYNJ authorities until seven hours later, a move that has been criticized. But Peter Pan officials stress the importance of first confirming the bus’ disappearance. “We were concerned about creating a false alarm, of letting police know that a bus was missing when in reality maybe it wasn’t,” said Robert J. Schwarz, executive vice president of communications. “Oftentimes, for whatever reason, buses are moved or reassigned. It might’ve been taken to the maintenance facility. Who knows?” Not until the previous night’s shift supervisor confirmed the last location of the motorcoach were PANYNJ police notified. Two hours later, the bus was found less than 20 miles away at JFK airport with a drunken suspect sitting behind the wheel. According to the New York Times and the New York Daily News, the man in question, David M. Slade, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a former school bus driver with 13 years of experience who apparently has been in trouble with the law before on other bus-related incidents. His most recent alleged actions, of which his motives still remain a mystery, have raised eyebrows and prompted security questions. “It is particularly troubling that this could happen at a time of heightened security,” Richard A. Brown, district attorney for Queens (N.Y.) County, told the Times. Brown’ office is prosecuting Slade. The PANYNJ has accused Peter Pan of not properly securing its motorcoach while Peter Pan has obtained a sworn statement that it was locked. There has been no word from law enforcement as to how the vehicle was entered. Still, the company continues to meet with PANYNJ and Transportation Security Administration officials to discuss ways of preventing a similar event from recurring, such as outfitting its fleet with GPS tracking. “We’re not proud of the fact that it happened,” Schwarz said, “but we are taking corrective steps to make sure we do the best that we can to secure our coaches so that this unfortunate experience doesn’t happen again.”

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

JTA's Ford wins prestigious COMTO award

The Thomas G. Neusom Founders Award is the highest honor bestowed by COMTO. Ford accepted the award at the 46th National Meeting and Training Conference in Detroit.

NJ Transit weighing disciplinary actions for no-show train engineers

It's unclear how many of the cancellations stemmed from engineers exercising a contract provision that allows them to take two days to report for work when schedule changes are made.

National Express Transit acquires Cook DuPage Transportation

Established in 1975 and based in Chicago, CDT operates 275 paratransit vehicles providing more than 80,000 trips per month to PACE users in the Chicago Metropolitan area.

MTA chief weighs food ban on subway after track fire snarls service

A garbage fire crippled subway service along four lines for more than two hours during the peak of Monday’s morning rush hour.

BYD commits to hiring from communities facing significant barriers to employment

In addition to targeting veterans and returning citizens, will also target populations that have historically been excluded from the manufacturing industry, such as women and African-Americans.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close