Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Tongue in Cheek look at Amtrak Security

Can be found in this article on Something Awful (I do read things online besides transit blogs).

..."While it wasn't publicized heavily by Amtrak, one of the unofficial benefits to riding one of these damn trains was the lack of security"...


Fritz said...

Amtrak is, strangly, emulating the airlines. ID requirements were enacted after 9/11 not to satisfy any security need, but to solve a business problem the airlines had, which was people selling their unused tickets.

Security consultant Bruce Schneier calls this security theater; here's an article by him in Wired magazine that touches on that.

295bus said...

Thanks for that link--makes me wonder what else transportation providers might be doing for "security theater".

There's a big hullabaloo in LA because the MTA is planning to put faregates on the subway (and maybe light rail lines). Up to now, it's been ungated, with fare inspectors (proof-of-payment).

They make a lot of arguments, none of which really stand up--it won't really save any money, or cut down on fare evasion. They also claim that it will improve security. This also doesn't make sense, since they're going to lay off fare inspectors (actual human authority figures on trains, who can spot people causing problems beyond catching a free ride) to pay for the faregates. So it will actualy *decrease* security.

But maybe it will increase the *perception* of security. It will also increase the *perception* that fares are being rigorously collected (which might make the honest majority of passengers feel less like suckers for paying, if they no longer think that others are getting a free ride).

In both respects, the reality is that faregates hurt more than they help, despite the impression that the "theater" of putting your ticket into a machine and walking through a gate.