Travel Advice - Public transportation and terrorism concerns
We are proponents of the use of public transportation by tourists, as it is the most convenient and economical way to travel the world’s major cities. Recently, terrorist plots aimed at mass transportation have caused us to re-think our position.
In March of 2004, terrorists struck Madrid, Spain with coordinated, simultaneous bombing of commuter trains during rush hour. In 2005 terrorists struck the London Underground. In the light of terrorism, every traveler should consider whether the terrorist threat to public transportation outweighs the conveniences offered by these accessible, low cost methods of traveling in major urban areas.
We define mass transportation systems as buses, subways, commuter trains, and ferry systems.
Why is rigid security impractical in a mass transportation system?
Yes, security could be improved but doing so will likely provide only the illusion of security. So, what should a traveler do? We believe that there are several choices and suggest the following:
1. Continue to use mass transportation, but follow our recommendation to use during non-peak hours (see our articles In Europe, use public transportation and our article on Safety recommendations for using taxis, trains, and buses).
2. Use taxis.
Whether you choose to use or avoid mass transit due to security concerns is an issue for you to decide based on your level of comfort with traveling on mass transportation systems. If you have any hesitation about using mass transportation, find an alternative that meets your security standards.