The policy of restrictive carry-on rules appears to be spreading from planes to Greyhound buses. Apparently, as of December 15th, passengers boarding them in Ottawa will be forced to put everything aside from “medication, baby formula and small handbags” in checked baggage. No matter that those rattling baggage holds are hostile territory for cameras, computers, and other delicate items. Likewise, no matter that the logic of security on intercity buses differs substantially from the logic for aircraft, as I have written about previously. The system has already been introduced in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.
To summarize my earlier post:
- With a plane under their control, hijackers can fly to distant states that might assist them. The only way to stop them is to shoot down the plane, killing everyone on board. Buses are comparatively easy to stop.
- [S]omeone in control of an ordinary plane can kill a lot of people. They can certainly kill everyone on board. They can also kill many people on the ground. Similar risks do not exist in relation to buses.
- [I]t isn’t clear that this strategy won’t simply displace any violence that was to occur to a different venue. If I want to harm a particular person, I can do so in a place other than a Greyhound bus. The same is true if I just want to hurt people at random.
- If you are really determined to hurt people on a bus, you can get on at a rural stop, rather than a bus station with metal detectors
It seems that the best low-cost and relatively low-carbon form of intercity travel is about to be needlessly constrained. It remains to be seen whether Greyhound proves enduringly committed to the new procedures once customers start appreciating just how inconvenient and unnecessary they are.