Grant targets Metro impostors
Metro will use an $18.6 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security to prevent unauthorized people from driving off in its buses and to improve security at its yards.
The agency said in a statement that the grant will pay for several projects, including a "bus driver authentication system," that could remotely slow buses and bring them to a stop. The money will also pay for fencing, cameras and lighting at Metro yards.
The move follows an incident in July where William Jackson, a 19-year-old District resident, drove off in a bus, according to charging documents. Authorities said he wore a standard-issue Metro bus driver's uniform, made his way into the Bladensburg bus garage in Northeast and drove off, pretending to be a driver assigned to the B2 route, which goes from Bladensburg Road to Anacostia, picking up passengers along the way. Four miles later, the bus crashed into a tree and several cars. No one was injured, but Jackson fled and was arrested.
Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle in D.C. Superior Court earlier this month. He could face up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 8 by Judge Frederick H. Weisberg.
A committee of Metro's board of directors voted Thursday to amend the capital budget with the grant and to initiate the contracts. The full board is expected to vote on the issue Sept. 30.
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