Passengers put their trust in OĎahuís bus system; that they
will be provided with safe public transportation. However, buses
arenít airplanes; passengers do not need security clearance
to board. Anyone could easily carry a gun, knife, bomb, or lethal
device onto a bus. With that said, it stands to reason that
passengers are not totally safe. We take risks everyday. They
are an inevitable part of life. But there are degrees of risk,
some higher than others.
What degree of risk is involved with riding the bus? A low
one, according to Roger Morton, vice president of OĎahu Transit
Services, ďIn terms of vulnerability, youíre safer on the bus
than riding in your own car,Ē Mort0n said. ďThereís so little
a level of violence, the threat is very low in my opinion. Itís
like going into Safeway and getting shot.Ē
According to the 2000 National Transit Database, there was
one patron robbed, four cases of theft (one against an employee
and three against patrons), 10 cases of vandalism, three sexual
offenses, four cases of disorderly conduct, one case of fare
evasion, and three ďother assaults.Ē In an emergency, Mortin
added, drivers are trained to defuse the situation or phone
police if deemed necessary.
ďWe train drivers for security awareness. Also, our central
office is piped right in with HPD (Honolulu Police Department).
We can usually have an officer on the scene within three minutes,Ē
said Mortin. Clearly OĎahuís transit system is prepared for
normal, daily threats to passenger security. Probably the people
responsible for security in the World Trade Center also foresaw
no threat. Sept. 11 was a typical day for them, as it was for
those who used the building.
A typical day indeed Ė until the first plane struck. Honolulu
is not Israel. Although no terrorist crimes have occurred yet,
the possibility still exists. Will it take a repeat of Sept.
11 for us to realize security on TheBus is inadequate? Letís
not take the gamble that it wonít happen to us. Letís take precautionary
measures to prevent the kind of horrific event that Israel suffers
regularly. Letís upgrade security now before itís too late.
A recent article published by the Honolulu Advertiser, about
a man who commandeered a city bus and crashed it, makes this