As a direct response to the terror attacks in London Thursday, President Bush raised the terror alert level to orange for public transit systems nationwide. That means Citibus employees in Lubbock are now practicing upgraded safety measures.
When an attack of this magnitude occurs anywhere in the world, it gives many of us a scare. However, Citibus passengers who spoke with NewsChannel 11 said it's not enough to stop them from taking the bus.
Whether it's off to work or out to play, over 59,000 riders a month pack onto a Citibus.
Suzanne King said she uses it all the time, "just running around, to go to the library, going home."
King first heard of the attacks on London's public transit system from NewsChannel 11. Upon hearing the news she said, "that's pretty scary. Yeah, it's pretty scary."
King says during the four months she's been using Citibus, such an attack on a bus never crossed her mind. "No, it never did," said King. "I feel safer riding the bus than driving my own car, really."
All Citibus employees are now stepping up current security measures in light of the London attacks, and to protect Lubbock citizens.
"So what we've done really, is ask our drivers and all of our other employees to be more cautious than normal about suspicious people, activities or unattended packages on the bus or in any of our facilities," said Citibus Planning Director Melinda Harvey.
Citibus rider Elena Ramos said Citibus' response "is like a heads up, you know, and it's good they're out there watching out for us."
Ramos is always a little suspicious about large bags. "Why would you need that much carry on? Sometimes I wonder about that stuff," she asks. Ramos takes comfort knowing Citibus employees will now check out those questionable items.
The fact remains that many of us could fall victim to a tragedy, but that won't keep Ramos from going on with her daily routine. "I'm not scared," she said. "I mean here in Lubbock, it doesn't seem much of a threat."
If employees do spot something suspicious, the bus will be immediately evacuated. A supervisor will then decide if the police need to be called.
The Lubbock Sheriff's Office is now reviewing all of its emergency procedures. The Lubbock Police Department, as well as Preston Smith International Airport, say they'll continue to do business as usual, but, of course, pay very close attention to their surroundings.
Four London Blasts Kill 40, Injure 700
Three blasts rocked the London subway and one tore open a packed double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday, sending bloodied victims fleeing in what a shaken Prime Minister Tony Blair called "barbaric" terrorist attacks.