New Bus Barrier Being Tested to Block Bombers

A prototype detection and barrier system to block bombers from getting on buses is to be tested in the next few weeks on at least two vehicles in Jerusalem, Transport Ministry sources said Thursday.

The system, developed by the ministry and Israel Military Industries, comprises a driver-controlled barrier at the front entrance, a disembark-only door at the rear, and metal detectors.

Transport Ministry spokesman Avner Ovadia says even if a terrorist decides to detonate a bomb at the bus door, the result would be less severe than if he were on board. Bomb resistant panels will protect the driver and passengers at the front of the bus from blast or shrapnel.

He said the system should also detect explosives up to a meter away from the bus. When the system alerts the driver to the proximity of explosives, he can block the entrance by not raising the barrier.

During the test period, evaluators will test passengers' reactions, drivers' behavior and system functioning before installing it on other buses.

About 800 security guards are now employed to protect bus stops and buses, and the Transport and Finance Ministries plan to raise the number to 1,000.