Bus riders claim harassment at downtown Raleigh station
Posted November 1, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh city official said Tuesday that he sees nothing wrong with a private subcontractor's policy toward loitering at a bus station even though some bus riders see it as harassment.
The riders at downtown Raleigh's Moore Square Transit Station say aggressive security guards accuse them of loitering when all they are doing is waiting for the bus.
In some cases, riders say, they are arrested.
"They see you standing out here for more than five minutes, then boom, they want to harass you," said Donald Small, a disabled veteran who takes the bus on a regular basis.
WRAL News spent several hours at the bus terminal Tuesday and observed many people remaining at the stop well after the buses were gone.
"We have homeless people down here, and they have nowhere to go but here or in the park," bus rider Dallas High said.
Security guards say they do ask people they think are loitering to leave the property. But they only have them arrested after multiple warnings or if they return to the property after being banned.
"I don't believe they're aggressive," said Scott McClellan, general manager of Veolia Transportation, the company the city hired to manage and operate the Capital Area Transit.
"We want it to be a safe and secure environment for all of out customers," he said. "If you're just here to hang out, and you're not involved in riding the bus or using our services, we prefer you go somewhere else."
David Eatman, the city's transit administrator, said he stands by Veolia's efforts to keep the terminal safe and that he isn't aware of anyone with a legitimate bus ticket who has been asked to leave the station.
"If you're legitimate riders, you are welcome," he said.
Eatman also said that the city has a federal grant to study transportation in the Moore Square area and that the growing homeless population will factor into the study.