MTA Beefing Up Security Following Moscow Bombing

"It's a little scary."

New York's rails have beefed up security as a precaution Monday following the suicide bombing in Moscow's subway system.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a "heightened security presence," said spokesman Kevin Ortiz. He declined further comment.  The agency is in charge of New York City buses and subways, as well as the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter trains.

The NYPD issued a statement saying it was increasing coverage of the subway system as a precaution "in response to the Moscow bombings."

Caravans of police vehicles were dispatched to transit hubs, and officers assigned to subways overnight were held in place so they overlapped with the day tour.

"That significantly bolstered police coverage at rush hour this morning," said spokesman Paul Browne.

Special units distinguished by their special black uniforms, helmets and body armor also were assigned to transit facilities. These "Hercules" teams plan on paying attention to transit hubs like Grand Central and various subway lines as the evening rush hour approaches.

New York "did ramp up our coverage a little bit this morning" after officials learned of the Moscow bombing, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

"We change it every day, and for security reasons obviously we're not going to tell anybody what we're doing," Bloomberg said. "But you can rest assured we have great interest in what goes on around the world."

In Manhattan, where the public has grown accustomed to increased security after the World Trade Center attack, many people said they hadn't even noticed the added measures.

"I don't think it poses a threat here now," said Carlos Rivera, 44, of Newark, N.J., who commutes to New York City daily and works in sales.

"Every day, I see the NYPD out here. I see the dogs. I can't let it affect my life right now," said Rivera. "I don't think about terrorism. I only think about it when I hear about it. Other than that, it never enters my mind."

Andrew Davis, 24, who was catching a train home to Morristown, N.J., said he feels safe and didn't notice any increased security.

John Villegas, who said he used to work near the World Trade Center, did sense the heightened security.

"I'm a little wary," Villegas, 48, said at Pennsylvania Station as he waited for a train home to Woodbridge, N.J. "I do not feel safe right now. It's a little scary."

Chris Edwards, 18, was heading back to Princeton University, where he's a freshman.

"I feel like security here is good enough," Edwards said. "I feel like, in general, any major terrorist attack is going to be more a misstep — the government not doing its job."

Russian authorities said two women blew themselves up in Moscow on Monday in a subway jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing dozens. They blamed the carnage on rebels from the Caucasus region.

In Washington, D.C., Metro police were conducting random inspections of stations and rail yards. Metro Transit Police's acting head, Jeri Lee, said Monday that the agency was doing "what we can to be as secure as possible."

Representatives of transit agencies in Boston and Philadelphia said they believed their normal security practices were vigilant enough to protect the riding public.

In Chicago, the city police department's public transportation section and Chicago Transit Authority personnel were watching closely for any suspicious activity or behavior, said CTA spokeswoman Kim Myles.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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