Concerns of public transit riders

We recently talked to Larry Mays , group director for transportation and logistics for ADT Security Services, about his experiences helping protect passengers of public transportation. He had some ideas of what most concerns those passengers...


We recently talked to Larry Mays, group director for transportation and logistics for ADT Security Services, about his experiences helping protect passengers of public transportation. He had some ideas of what most concerns those passengers.

“Over the years, I’ve been a regular user of public transit systems and have talked to many of my fellow passengers about some of their fears and concerns about regularly riding on a bus, subway or train. At one point I commuted daily from Philadelphia to New York City to work on a project for New York City Transit. Some of those concerns, such as missing a train/bus and getting on the wrong car, fall into the category of personal responsibility. But here are three other concerns where the transit operator can, and should, take steps to alleviate passengers’ legitimate fears.”

I’m concerned about having my car broken into in the station parking lot.

“Well-placed and prominently marked surveillance cameras can act as a real deterrent to criminals. By having a security officer monitor live feeds from the cameras, police can be called to quickly respond to a break-in. And should a burglar succeed in stealing from a vehicle, the video can be used to help identify and arrest the perpetrator. Periodic tours of parking lots by a security guard also serve as a deterrent. If criminals see your parking lot as a tough target, they will go elsewhere.”

I’m afraid of being robbed late at night at a station or stop.

“Again, monitored surveillance cameras can play an important role in helping to protect passengers. Adequate lighting is also important, as criminals like to work where it’s dark. If the budget doesn’t allow for cameras at each stop, you might consider closing down little-used stations/stops at night and consolidating passengers to fewer locations where they can be better protected.”

I’m afraid I wouldn’t know what to do if a terrorist attacked my station.

“When a terrorist starts shooting or detonating explosives, you can be sure chaos will result unless people are provided with up-to-date, accurate information on how to react. That’s where mass communication systems and adequate signage join cameras in helping to save lives and reduce injuries. Transit security officers monitoring stations can see what is happening and use an intelligible voice speaker array to help move the crowd away from danger. These speaker systems can be particularly effective outdoors, where they can be heard clearly up to a quarter mile away.  

Transit operators need to remember that nearly all of us make personal safety our top priority. If you can’t reasonably guarantee safety, ridership will decline. Operators are responsible for the safety and security of their riders on buses and trains traveling along transit routes.

In most cases, this includes providing safety and security precautions at bus stops, loading stations and parking lots. Talk with a security systems integrator familiar with the transit industry about how you can make your system safer.”

-- PSW staff