Gruesome bus killing raises security concerns

A bloody killing aboard a Greyhound bus in Manitoba that left one person beheaded had bus passengers elsewhere in the country shaken and concerned about a lack of bus security, although experts say there's little that can be done.

"Hearing about this incident really worries me,'' said Donna Ryder, 56, who was waiting yesterday at the bus depot in Toronto.

"I'm in a wheelchair and what would I be able to do to defend myself? Probably nothing. So that's really scary.''

Ryder, who was heading to Kitchener, said buses are essentially the only way she can get around the province, as her wheelchair won't fit on Via Rail trains.

As it is her main option for travel, a lack of security is troubling, she said.

"I guess we're going to have to go the airline way, maybe have a search and baggage check, X-ray maybe,'' she said.

"Really I don't know what you can do about security any more.''

Brian Bowey, 54, of Senlac, Sask., was in Edmonton waiting for a bus home.

He said the killing in Manitoba, about 15 kilometres west of Portage la Prairie, had him on edge.

"After that going on, I'm kind of nervous getting on and off,'' he said.

Bowey suggested not letting passengers have any baggage on board buses.

"Maybe that would be an answer, to make everyone put everything underneath instead of allowing any carry-on,'' he said.

Some passengers said there should be security personnel riding on the buses or screening passengers and their bags, as in airports.

But some experts that's just not realistic.

"Because of the nature of the industry, which is servicing a lot of small towns, with pickups right along the side of the highway, we're not dealing with the same kind of a controlled environment like an airport,'' said David Carroll, the director of safety and maintenance with Motor Coach Canada.

"It would be extremely difficult and impractical to introduce screening devices, baggage checks, at all these various locations.

"I don't think that's the answer . . . It just happened to be on a bus. It could just have easily happened in a theatre, in a bar, in a shopping centre.''