Jerusalem Gets Four High-tech Safe' Buses

Four buses designed to protect passengers from suicide bombers were inaugurated in Jerusalem yesterday.

The protection system, developed and installed by the Israel Military Industries (IMI) and the Transport Ministry, was scheduled to be inaugurated a day earlier, but its operation was postponed due to the suicide bombing on Sunday.

Buses equipped with the protection system are to start operating in Tel Aviv in a few days and a fifth bus will probably be put into use in Jerusalem in a few weeks.

IMI board chairman Aryeh Mizrahi said the IMI could install the protection system in hundreds of buses a month by working intensively round the clock.

The system consists of a turnstile at the bus' front door, explosive detectors, protective barriers for the driver and passengers, am exit-only back door and a loudspeaker for the driver to speak to the passengers waiting in line.

The turnstile will enable passengers to board the bus only at the driver's press of a button. Before boarding, passengers will be scanned by the explosive detectors outside the bus.

Mizrahi said the IMI designed the system first and foremost to protect Israeli passengers, and later to be marketed in the world.

The ministries of transport and science are calling on the public and the scientists' community to present ideas and proposals for safeguarding public transportation, mainly from suicide bombers. These ministries asked scientists and others in high-tech for such ideas about a month ago.

Transport Ministry spokesman Avner Ovadia said the ministry has received dozens of ideas and as a result decided to expand the request to the public at large. A notice to this effect is to be published today. A joint professional committee of both ministries will evaluate the proposals.