Local News

DATA Buses Resume Regular Schedule Sunday

Posted April 19, 2003 7:22 a.m. EDT

— After shutting down part of the No. 9 bus route in Durham Friday and Saturday nights for safety reasons, city officials said the route's normal schedule will resume Sunday.


Durham Area Transit Authority

ended the No. 9 route at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, shutting off parts of the city to bus service in the wake of three incidents of bus shootings in the past several weeks.

DATA buses don't normally run after 7 p.m. on Sunday. So the bus serving the route that was changed Friday and Saturday night will start running again after 7 p.m. on Monday.

"My sense is we shouldn't give in to the people who are doing those things," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said. "We've got people who rely on that bus for transportation. We've got to get out there on patrols and get the people responsible."

According to DATA manager Thomas Hartley, the bus service has hired a private security firm to protect the buses starting Monday. Armed guards will ride the buses, patrol the downtown bus terminal and follow buses to conduct surveillance.

On Wednesday, four people, including the driver, were on a bus when several shots were fired near the intersection of Old Oxford Highway and Danube Lane around 9:15 p.m., police said. Bullets damaged several windows on the bus.

Last week, a gunman reached through the window of a bus and opened fire, damaging two windows and the bus engine when it stopped at Cleveland Street and Seminary Avenue. Twenty-one people were on that bus, but nobody was injured.

On March 27, three possible gang members opened fire on a DATA bus at a Glenbrook Drive stop. The suspects reportedly were firing at three other possible gang members who were sitting on the bus, police said. Seven people were aboard at the time of the shooting, but no injuries were reported.

On Thursday night, two Durham police officers riding on a bus heard shots after a stop, Hartley said.

"Apparently, six young people got off, and, when they did, everybody on the bus heard several shots," Hartley said. "Then the officers directed the driver to move on."

Durham police Sgt. B.W. Ray said the officers could not tell if they were hearing gunshots or firecrackers.

"The fact is, if shots are going to be fired with police officers on the bus, and they're going to go on for two or three more blocks without getting off to get the people responsible, they're going to go on (shooting)," Hartley said.