Bay Area transit agencies are taking no special precautions for commuters on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but travelers are encouraged to be the first line of defense in the war on terror.
With national threat levels at yellow, or “elevated,” officials with the Golden Gate Transit Authority, Bay Area Rapid Transit, San Francisco International Airport and Caltrain said they would not increase security today, citing measures they’ve taken since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.
Golden Gate spokeswoman Mary Currie said they would continue operating steadily at a “yellow-plus, orange-minus” alert level — in between the Department of Homeland Security’s yellow and orange alerts — as they have since Sept. 11, 2001.
“We’re at a higher level because we feel as the iconic structure we are … it’s our responsibility,” Currie said.
The agency has improved the perimeter security at bus and ferry terminals and looks forward to the November completion of the Golden Gate Bridge’s north end security project, which adds more fencing, lighting and roadway barricades, she said.
After the enhancements made in the wake of the foiled British bomb plot involving liquid explosives, Bob Rotiski, the duty managerat SFO, said there was no need to increase security measures today because “we’re doing what we need to be doing” and complying with current security directives.
Caltrain was not stepping up security but continuing with the normal levels of transit police and K-9 units while working closely with the municipalities its tracks run through, said spokesman Jonah Weinberg.
Bay Area Rapid Transit officials are using the anniversary as an opportunity to remind riders and citizens that they are the best defense against would-be attackers, noting that if “something negative” happened to the BART system, the ranking director of BART, James Fang, said it could cost $20 billion to replace it.
“Police, just as before 9/11 and since, cannot be everywhere,” added BART’s chief of police, Gary Gee.
It’s those types of statements — reminding people that it’s an open system — that 36-year-old commuter Keith Goldman said gives security officials a fall-back position in the case of attack.
“That just reinforces to me that there’s only so much you can do,” said the twice-weekly BART rider.