Monday, December 01, 2008

Or, they could try security cameras...

...and maybe a guard with computer access on each train. This is another example of adults failing to supervise kids properly, and well-behaved kids who need services being inconvenienced or denied because of it. It's not like the transport authority doesn't know what public school hours are - maybe they should try challenging kids who obviously aren't in school to show cause for running around on the transit system all day.

In Light of Violence, Student Subway Passes Reconsidered
Posted by: Judy Chang
1 December 2008 - 6:00am

Subway violence and crime in Philadelphia have been unofficially traced to truant students, who are enabled by unlimited rides on the SEPTA throughout the week. Whether or not the student TransPass system should be eliminated is being debated.

"But SEPTA and Philadelphia School District officials said that the study was baseless, with no hard evidence to support its claims or recommendations.

Youth are responsible for half the violent crime on the city's subways, according to the study, and Butkovitz said that the TransPass contributes to the problem. The pass allows students to ride SEPTA an unlimited number of times weekdays between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., creating more opportunity for violence, especially by the 15,000 students reported truant every day, Butkovitz said.

Until the TransPass and, thus, the students can be tracked, a return to tokens and paper transfers would limit the number of rides per day and reduce juvenile subway crime, he said."

Oh, come on. This shouldn't be that hard - the swipe card technology already exists which can check the student's school hours for an untimely entry or a failure to get off at the correct stop and flag that entry to a security guard. The computer should already know it's a student fare, and the program should act accordingly - no new technology needed. If there are that many truants in Philadelphia then somebody should have taken a proactive stance long before now.

Yes, it's a shame that these kid's parents aren't doing their job. Don't get me wrong. But it's clear that the truancy laws as they currently are in Philadelphia have no bite to them - maybe they should try fixing that angle of the problem, too. And both parent's daytime phone numbers should be encoded on their transit card, wouldn't you say?

Making it more difficult for ordinary kids to get too and from schools and academic events certainly isn't the smart solution.

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