Here’s a tale of what is actually happening in urban transportation systems in a time of massive antiterrorism security: The New York Times reports that a 55-seat private bus was stolen from the city’s Port Authority Bus Terminal in broad daylight on Sunday, and it was seven hours before the police knew it was gone. It was found at Kennedy International Airport, with a drunken former bus driver sitting behind the wheel, a can of malt liquor on the console. “It is particularly troubling that this could happen at a time of heightened security,” said Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, whose office is prosecuting the driver.
A spokesman for the Peter Pan firm, whose bus was stolen, said the company learned of the missing bus, known as Coach No. 700, around 10 a.m. Sunday. The company wanted to be sure, before alerting the authorities about something as serious as a stolen bus, and that did not take place until about 5 p.m. It is still not clear how the bus was stolen.
At 7:20 p.m., a Port Authority police officer found the bus at Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 4, prosecutors said. The motor was running, and the thief was sitting in the driver’s seat, alone. A test showed his blood alcohol level was .105, above the legal driving limit of .08.