Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
Commuters had mixed reactions Monday to a new proposal that calls for the creation a No Ride List for Amtrak to safeguard against terrorists in the wake of reports that al Qaeda planned to target U.S. trains.
A day after Senator Charles Schumer pushed for the creation of the No Ride List — which would act similarly to the No Fly List for airlines — rail passengers at Penn Station had mixed reactions, with some saying it could be a logistical nightmare and others arguing those too dangerous to fly shouldn't be allowed to ride trains.
"Probably it's a good idea," said Heather Puhalla, 35, riding Amtrak for the first time en route back to her native Baltimore on Monday morning. "They keep the airways safe — why not the same with railways?"
Bryan McLain, 39, of Washington, D.C., said he rides Amtrak several times a month and is willing to "give up some freedoms" in the interest of safety but felt body scanners would be a more effective way to ferret out threats.
"I don't know how they could manage that," McLain said of the list. "Airlines have a difficult enough time managing."
Francine Wright, 64, of Indian Head, Maryland, said it was "scary" that terrorists had reportedly been eying railways in the U.S. as their next target and that a 'No Ride List' would help guard against an attack.
"It's an excellent idea," said Wright. "Anything for security, but I hope it doesn't come to that."
But Kenny, 57, who was headed to Lynchburg, Virginia, from Queens said he thought the idea was an ineffective one.
"I think it's absurd," he said. "It's nonsense. ... It's a solution in search of a problem."