United States Transit Funding Inc. & ePassenger Calls for No Ride List

Jan. 5, 2015
United States Transit Funding Inc. & ePassenger is releasing the following regulatory advisory to the media and the over-the-road transportation and transit industry regarding the need for a modified proposal that was brought forward by United States Sena

United States Transit Funding Inc. & ePassenger is releasing the following regulatory advisory to the media and the over-the-road transportation and transit industry regarding the need for a modified proposal that was brought forward by United States Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for a “No Ride List” in 2011.

In 2011, Senator Schumer called for a "No Ride List" for Amtrak that would mimic what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been providing for the airline industry dating back a decade.

While the public opinions on Senator Schumer’s desire to implement a "No Ride List" were mixed, United States Transit Funding Inc and ePassenger is supportive of the premise for a “No Ride List” under a more limited perspective, including under “All Point Bulletins – APBs” and “Be On the Look Out – BOLOs” which should have been disseminated on the morning of Dec. 20, and prior to the assassinations of New York City Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

Let us also be clear - United States Transit Funding, Inc. is not supportive of an “all-inclusive,” “No Ride List” regulatory policy that violates the right to privacy. We are only supportive of a “No Ride List” consistent under certain federal statutes that protects passenger and public safety.

This regulatory advisory and recommendation for a modified “No Ride List” follows the recent tragedy where Officers Ramos and Liu were assassinated by a perpetrator, who took passage from Baltimore, Maryland to New York City with a fixed-route, intercity passenger carrier transportation bus company while passing through a minimum of 4 state jurisdictions and after the perpetrator shot and wounded Ms. Shaneka Thompson about 8 hours earlier.

During this trip, according to media reports, the perpetrator had also made social media threats that he was going to kill police officers1 and it has also been reported that the city of Baltimore Police Department was tracking the perpetrator through the cell phone he took from Thompson while on a public highway.

The organization believe that the Department of Homeland Security and its local and state partners, the United States Department of Transportation and the over-the-road passenger-carrier industry can do a better job working together when it comes to information dissemination and sharing best practices. Had BoltBus been alerted that one of its passengers was armed and considered dangerous, it would have taken the appropriate measures to alert law enforcement and ensure passenger safety.

This tragedy demonstrates the need to improve the sharing of information between public entities and private companies, including local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and the over-the-road passenger carrier industry, including for intercity, fixed route bus companies. It is the view of United States Transit Funding, Inc. and ePassenger that the utilization of a “No Ride List” could have a lasting and positive effect with the potential to save lives.

Such a “No Ride List” would include individuals accused of violating certain interstate laws, including 18 USC Sections 922 & 924, as well as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, specifically Parts 355 (Compatibility of State Laws & Regulations), 390.9 (Effect on State & Local Laws), and 392.62 (Safe Operation, Buses).

Federal statute prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms including those that are “fugitives of justice” (18 USC 922 (g)(2)), “a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year” (18 USC 922 (g)(1)), or “a person who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been admitted to a mental institution” (18 USC 922 (g)(4)), of which it is reasonably believed that the perpetrator would have fallen into one if not each of these statutes.

Since the perpetrator shot and wounded Thompson and then fled the jurisdiction of the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland, 18 USC 922 should have effectively and efficiently prompted a state and federal BOLO and APB on the actual or constructive possession of a firearm by a perpetrator2 (See U.S. v Booth, et.al. 111 F.3d 2 [1st Cir. September 1997]).

The enforcement of 18 USC Sections 922 and 924 and the utilization of a system-wide APB and BOLO should have allowed local, state, and federal law enforcement to communicate the same information that BoltBus should have received in order to check passenger manifests and ensure the publics’ safety, including Patrolmen Ramos and Liu, the safety of commuters that were traveling along a public highway, as well as the safety of passengers that were also on board that passenger-carrier bus.

Equally, law enforcement, had they known or been made aware of the perpetrator was a passenger could take steps to ensure that the public’s safety by going to the safest and closet exit or bus depot as soon as possible and apprehending the suspect.

Additionally, there is a larger conversation that is needed regarding the need for over-the road passenger-carrier bus companies to work with local, state and federal authorities, including having the necessary tools, information and strategies to screen individuals, mitigate lone wolf attackers, and ascertain if someone is boarding a bus in violation of federal law related to passenger or public safety.

The need for a modified “No Ride List” proposal should be addressed through the programmatic goals that have been set forth by the Department of Homeland Security, its local and state partners as well as the over-the-road passenger-carrier transportation industry through National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) and prevention planning to ensure that terror threats, including lone wolf terror threats are mitigated based on information dissemination and sharing.

United States Transit Funding Inc. has been receiving feedback from other over-the-road passenger-carrier transportation companies across the United States regarding flaws that have been occurring between local, state and federal regulators and the passenger-carrier industry with the need to increase information dissemination practices, including as something as simply sharing APB and BOLO information from public agencies and to DOT-regulated passenger-carriers who employ shift dispatchers that would check passenger manifests.

It is the organization's position that a fixed-route, intercity transportation provider should receive the same "All Points Bulletin" or “Be On the Lookout – BOLO” from local, state and federal authorities by notifying their NIMS Chain of Command that an armed and dangerous fugitive is on the loose, may be on board one of its’ buses and prompt their company to check its bus manifest and ticket purchases.