The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) presented its prestigious Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) Gold Standard Award to the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) for its ongoing efforts to provide a safe transit experience for its riders throughout the system.
The BASE program is a voluntary security assessment of national mass transit and passenger rail systems and is performed by TSA’s transportation security inspectors. The assessment informs development of risk mitigation priorities and determines TSA allocations or resources. TSA recognizes PRTC for demonstrating a strong security program with its Gold Standard Award.
“This award places PRTC among the top tier of transit agencies in the nation by recognizing its effort and commitment to providing security,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Northern Virginia. “The Gold Standard Award recognizes PRTC for its security practices that benefit its passengers and workforce.”
PRTC is a multi-jurisdictional agency representing Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties in Virginia in addition to the Virginia cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Fredericksburg. The transit agency provides commuter bus service via OmniRide and Metro Direct into the nation’s capital and local bus serves via OmniLink and the Cross County Connector to the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. PRTC also offers OmniMatch, a free ridesharing service.
The BASE program was developed to increase domain awareness, enhance prevention and protection capabilities and further response preparedness of transit systems nationwide. BASE is aimed at meeting the requirements in the 9/11 Commission Act’s security assessment section. This particular assessment section directs TSA to identify critical assets, infrastructure systems and their vulnerabilities as well as assist bus and public transportation authorities to address their security programs.
The Gold Standard Award is the top recognition the TSA bestows to a transit agency for achieving the highest scores on its BASE review that evaluates 17 categories of security and emergency preparedness action items identified as fundamentals for a sound transit security program. Establishing a national standard for individual transit system security programs, the review includes topics such as an agency’s security plan, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs.
PRTC is one of three transit agencies nationwide to be honored with the award in 2020. The other transit agencies to receive the honor were Oahu Transit Services, Inc., which operates TheBus on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and GoTriangle, the Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority, which provides regional bus service to Wake, Durham and Orange counties in North Carolina.
Every year, the TSA assesses a select number of transit agencies nationwide through the BASE program, and only a few achieve scores worthy of the Gold Standard Award.