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Greyhound hires security screeners

Passengers traveling home for the holidays on Greyhound buses will face tighter security measures as the company introduces hand-held metal detectors for passenger screening and eliminates most carry-on luggage.


December 8, 2008
By Jennifer Brown


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A Greyhound spokesperson said the company has spent “several million”
to put the new measures in place, but insists the move is not directly
connected to the murder of Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus last July,
just west of Portage la Prairie, Man.

“Greyhound had already been doing a two-year study and upon completion
felt it was appropriate to move on to the next steps,” says Abby
Wambaugh.

The added security measures began Dec. 2 in Edmonton, Calgary and
Winnipeg with other major cities to begin screening Dec. 15, however
Wambaugh could not say which cities or when.

The move is welcomed by the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union
Local 1374 based in Calgary where Greyhound’s Western Canadian offices
are located. A policy allowing Greyhound drivers to screen passengers
and carry-on luggage has actually been in place since 9/11, but for the
most part, drivers did not take on the task says Jim Higgs, president
of the union.

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“We have always felt carry-on was the biggest problem because there was
the possibility someone could be carrying alcohol or a weapon. Now that
will be addressed,” he says.

Higgs points out that Greyhound is paying for the additional security
measures themselves and has not received any funding from Transport
Canada, unlike the airline industry which has a fund that receives
funding from each ticket sold.

“This is coming right out of Greyhound’s bottom line,” says Higgs.

However, in July 2007 Transport Canada did provide Greyhound Canada
with $285,000 under Transit-Secure funding to conduct a threat-risk
assessment and Ontario Northland, which runs passenger buses in
Northern Ontario, received $187,500 for a risk assessment.

Cities such as Ottawa have also received Transit-Secure funding for
their municipal transit systems. In March of last year the City of
Ottawa received $1.26 million to enhance security measures on OC
Transpo municipal buses.

While other bus lines have not announced that they will be adding
additional security measures, Higgs says he thinks the Greyhound move
will “start a chain reaction” — even though it is one of only a few
companies with major inter-city routes.

The screening of Greyhound passengers has been contracted out to
Securitas in the western cities, but Wambaugh would not confirm who the
third part operator will be in other cities.

A spokesperson for Securitas in Calgary indicated all questions about
the Greyhound screening contract were to be handled by Greyhound.

The items Greyhound has listed items not acceptable for carry-on
include knives, tools and other sharp objects. A list of unacceptable
(and acceptable items) is available on the Greyhound website.


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