How HART officials plan to combat crime on driver-less trains

How HART officials plan to combat crime on driver-less trains
Published: May. 13, 2016 at 2:24 AM HST|Updated: May. 13, 2016 at 3:27 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu's future rail line won't have any drivers on board. So what happens if there's an emergency or a crime?

Rail leaders assure the public rail cars will have adequate security.

But they are still deciding on whether to hire transit police officers. They also aren't sure whether those officers would be stationed.

"Safety is the utmost important thing for the rail project," said Bill Brennan, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation spokesman.

Brennan said project officials have been working on security plans for years. He said each rail car will have four surveillance cameras, a total of 16 cameras per train. He said the driver-less trains will be monitored by rail staffers at the Operation and Control Center in Waipahu.

"The stations themselves will have emergency call boxes, as will the cars on the train. So there are several security measures and safety measures in place," Brennan said.

The rail's path goes through City Councilman Joey Manahan's district. After years of debate over the building process, Manahan said it is time to focus more on operations.

"Lately, our discussions have been focused on the completion of the 20 miles, 21 stations and the extensions of the surcharge. We haven't really been discussing whether we would be having transit police or not," said Manahan.

Manahan said he likes the idea of having transit police.

"I would imagine that we would need some kind of law enforcement or security officers in the transit stations or perhaps even on the trains, especially after hours I would think," Manahan said.

Portland's rail and bus system employs about 60 police or security officers. San Diego's transit system has a reported 200 officers.

At this point, Honolulu's rail planners have no official proposal for officers -- or cost estimates for a rail security force.

But Brennan points out rail staffers will be able to hear and see what's happening on the trains and they could call for police to meet riders at the next station.

Brennan said the HART board will make the final call on whether the transit security force will be Honolulu police officers, sheriff's deputies, or private security guards. A HART board member said there have not been any recommendations to the board yet.

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