Achieving the Right Balance

Public transport systems are safer than air travel, yet the feeling of insecurity is often greater. This can be attributed to the perception that nobody is in control or managing the public space in a transit system, and that the system is impersonal. This in turn encourages criminal elements to thrive, since public transport systems are attractive to criminals due to the anonymity they provide. This article discusses how public transport systems can gain control of their environment and achieve the right balance in terms of security measures. The experiences of the London Underground are highlighted. A customer service focus is one of the biggest factors in dealing with both the reality and the perception of security. Public transport operators can maintain the confidence and loyalty of their customers by focusing on the things that matter most to customers, such as reliable and regular service, information on services and routes, and timely information about delays and alternatives that enable passengers to make choices. London Underground has adopted a unique strategy of operating a reliable train service with high standards of customer care. In conjunction with the British Transport Police, the London Underground has reduced actual levels of crime to record low numbers. London Underground is now an extremely low crime environment and one of the most managed public spaces in London. London Underground maintains a staff presence on every station and a driver on each train. The highly visible and attentive staff and police give an impression of a well-controlled and managed environment. In a mass passenger transport system, no one single security measure can be foolproof or capable of mitigating every type of threat. By taking a layered security approach, the London Underground is able to provide a controlled environment that mitigates the threat to as low as reasonably practicable.


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  • Accession Number: 01154661
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 2 2010 10:51PM