RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK (Oct. 28, 2020) – For meeting high standards in providing a safe transit experience and a strong security program, GoTriangle has become one of only three transit agencies in the nation in 2020 to receive the Transportation Security Administration’s prestigious Baseline Assessment of Security Enhancement Gold Standard Award.
TSA representatives visited GoTriangle’s bus operations facility today to present the BASE award to the agency.
“I could not be more proud of our team members at GoTriangle for the way they have taken our mission to heart and worked so hard to show that our No. 1 priority, always, is safety,” says GoTriangle President and CEO Chuck Lattuca. “In 2020 especially, as we all endure the myriad ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, to be recognized as a safe and secure transit agency is very gratifying, and I can’t thank our board and the entire GoTriangle team enough.”
The Gold Standard Award is the top recognition that the TSA bestows to a transit agency for achieving the highest scores on its BASE review, which evaluates 17 categories of security and emergency preparedness items identified as fundamentals for an exemplary program. The BASE review includes topics such as an agency’s security plan, security training, drills and exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs.Participation in the TSA program is voluntary, and GoTriangle has chosen to undergo the BASE review every year since 2015. GoTriangle Safety and Security Manager Jimmy Price led the agency’s efforts to meet the TSA requirements for the award.
“I wanted to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep our employees and our riders getting on our buses every day safe,” says Price, who has been in charge of safety initiatives at GoTriangle since 2014. “I hope our customers see this award as GoTriangle caring about them, not just them getting on the bus, but as people who have to move from one place to the next knowing the agency is doing due diligence to make sure our buses are safe and secure. We want to make sure everyone is safe, to get them home the same way they came.”
GoTriangle Director of Transit Operations Pat Stephens, who oversees the agency’s safety department, praised Price and Safety and Security Specialist Joe Biondi for their leadership in an achievement that was the result of an impressive team effort across GoTriangle.
“There are many people from different departments who were instrumental in achieving this recognition including our information technology, marketing and customer service colleagues,” Stephens says. “Initiatives such as our ‘See Something, Say Something Campaign,’ our active shooter drill and training our operators on recognizing suspicious packages on the buses and at stops were just a small portion of making sure our security posture met federal guidelines.”
Achieving the Gold Standard Award this year means that GoTriangle reached an overall performance score of more than 90 percent, Price says.
“I’ve always been the type person who welcomes outside agencies to come in and do an assessment on our safety and security posture because they are the subject matter experts,” he says. “They’re seeing what’s out there from the security side, what the trends are, and they help transit agencies improve their programs as time goes on. It’s a lifelong partnership between us and TSA now.”
Every year, the TSA assesses a select number of transit agencies nationwide through the BASE program, and only a few achieve scores worthy of the Gold Standard Award. Being recognized with GoTriangle for 2020 are the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission and Oahu Transit Services, Inc., which operates TheBus on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
Attending the presentation at GoTriangle today from the TSA were Kevin Frederick, a federal security director, Terry Burgess, an assistant federal security director for inspections, Charles Posley, a supervisory transportation security inspector, and Justin Abraham, a transportation security inspector, all from Charlotte, and Beth Walker, a federal security director at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
“This year GoTriangle was one of only three entities in the country who received the Gold Standard Award for TSA’s Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement program,” Frederick says. “This is a voluntary program designed to improve the security posture of surface transportation systems. In receiving this award, GoTriangle has demonstrated its dedication and commitment to achieving the highest standards of security for both their employees and customers.”