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Thursday, July 27, 2006


Cops On the Bus

Like indicated in previous posts, there are a few areas in which the MTA shines (spot-wise). Meaning they've prioritized sensibly with respect to real as opposed to imaginary problems.

One of them is employing undercover cops on the subway trains and Metro buses. That's a real plus, because a mass-transit vehicle without effective supervision would leave passengers highly vulnerable to assault, attack, theft, and so on.

There are notes attached on some buses and trains that suggest that some of the passengers aboard them are actually undercover police officers. (How that can be verified is another game, but we'll take MTA for their word here).
As many know L.A. has many violent criminals, drug addicts, and without generalizing them, some of them wouldn't hesitate to rob or assault citizens if they could get a way with it, and trains and buses would be perfect arenas for that. That is, if they weren't supervised. But they apparently are. That's a sign that somebody, somewhere, cares about the transit riders' safety, despite the other inadequacies elsewhere suggesting otherwise.
As for how many transit riders are aware of the undercover police presence is another thing. It may be that some riders feel unsafe riding the bus or train because they don't know of it, but at least if something were to happen, there might be an undercover in the immediate vicinity at that very moment to intervene.

But in fairness, violence is utterly rare on Metro buses and trains. The closest thing I've seen to assault have been rougue bus drivers' attitudes toward passengers. Transit riders tend to be overwhelmingly very docile. Typically it is the driver who's the rough bastard, and the passengers who show fear (depending on time of day and what route, riders may be the whackos). Yet, you never know, and fortunately, there are cops there to guard their safety. (Or so the MTA claims; but who knows how often they're actually onboard, with the officer shortage and budget issues and so on. But at least it's a possibility.)

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