BART reviews emergency preparedness after Boston bombings


A 2010 exercise with the FBI, San Francisco police and BART police was just a drill, but it highlighted the very real threat to the Bay Area's transportation systems.

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey says the day of the Boston bombings every available officer was on the trains. Administrative staff was required to put on their uniforms and head out, and there was partial activation of the emergency operations center.

"There was no credible threat that BART was being targeted or threatened, but it's actually a good chance for us to practice," said Kenton.

Rainey was linked in with the TSA right after the Boston attacks.

"Immediately after, I joined a conference call that the Transportation Security Administration coordinates with their transit chiefs throughout the nation," said Kenton.

The board asked for a review possible security gaps at empty station agent booths and with the camera system. There are now 1,000 cameras system-wide, with live feeds from the stations and recordings from inside trains. Although BART did just award a contract for on-board cameras with live streaming capabilities.

BART employees say they have long felt vulnerable and they hope there will be some changes.

"We love our jobs. We love the passengers that we serve; that's why we do the job. We want protection for ourselves as well as them," said Antoinette Bryant, a BART station agent.

In many ways BART employees are the front lines of security and Rainey says the most important resource are the 400,000 daily BART riders, as compared with only 300 BART police.

T.J. Spadini understands that. He said, "I actually have a seat I prefer when I'm on the BART and it's the seat up against the back wall and it's sort of so no one can sneak up behind you, but also so you can see what's going on all over the place," said T.J. Spadini, a BART rider.

Rainey says there will surely be lessons learned in Boston that officials there will share those with the nation.

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