People all over the world use public transportation such as buses, subways, rail, commuter trains, even ferries. In Europe, a reported total of 57.9 billion journeys were made in a single year*. However, specific events have travelers questioning and rethinking their choice of transportation. The more memorable incident being the 2016 suicide bombers in Brussels where three men killed 32 and injured over 300 people between two airports and one metro station**.
Contrasting Airport and Public Transportation Security
Security measures at airports are well enforced and, for the most part, accepted by passengers. Those same measures aren’t being executed for other public transportation because mass transit centers face a different set of challenges. Unlike an airplane, a public vehicle makes numerous stops while in transit, and there are multiple points of entry. There are no restrictions on who can use public transportation as there isn’t a no-ride list, meaning that high-risk travelers can board a train or bus.
Some train operators, such as Eurostar, have introduced security measures such as metal detectors and baggage x-rays for their international routes, but it doesn’t compare to airports.
Finding the Right Balance
Passengers around the world choose to travel by bus, subway or train because it is convenient, faster and much easier than other modes of transportation.
Logistically, it’s difficult to provide the same amount of security to public transportation hubs that airports receive. It would be time-consuming, expensive, and take away from what makes public transportation popular. At an airport, you must arrive a couple of hours ahead of your flight, identify yourself with proper documentation, and get through security before boarding the plane. Some people choose to take the train to save time and avoid the hassle involved with traveling by plane. So, is there a middle ground in making public transportation more secure without taking away the efficiency and convenience that passengers expect?
In the U.S., speculation about installing checkpoints similar to airports have surfaced. Although, it would slow everything down in already crowded transit centers. The U.K. has taken security up a notch and has added an undercover police presence. Israel, taking more drastic measures, has added protective barriers near areas where passengers board buses. They have also been experimenting with explosive detection devices***.
How Trackforce Can Help
Airports use state-of-the-art technology to manage their staff as there are areas of an airport that are restricted to specific personnel, and other departments that need to be closely managed. It is no different for other public transportation centers. Mass transit centers need to have control over departments such as cleaners, maintenance, train operators, etc. as they all play a role in security measures.
Trackforce connects all departments on one platform. Just like at airports, security officers at public transit hubs must complete guard tours. With Trackforce, managers have full insight into guard activity and any security situation. A geofence can be added, and managers are notified when an officer enters or exits the perimeter. GPS and NFC technology provide accountability for all employees as managers always know where personnel is located. And like airports, public transit hubs need to be able to replace someone who can’t make it for their shift. Trackforce simplifies the payroll process, so it is easy to schedule employees and immediately see who is available for coverage.