Inspired by the exploits of mass transit enthusiast Darius McCollum, who has been arrested 27 times for things like driving a subway (the E train, to be exact), impersonating transit employees, and, most recently, stealing a Trailways bus, the Daily News has been dispatching employees to see how easy it is to steal public transportation vehicles. And in the case of Trailways buses, well, the keys are waiting for you!
McCollum, who bragged he's stolen 150 buses, took a Trailways bus last week after finding the keys in the ignition. And for some reason, Trailways bus drivers didn't learn their lesson afterwards: On Saturday, News reporter Mike Jaccarino headed to the same Hoboken bus depot, "Amazingly, Trailways had left the keys in the ignition again. I got behind the wheel and started the engine, heard its growl and felt its rumble. I resisted the temptation to drive off, turned off the bus and slowly walked out as if nothing happened."
Yesterday, reporter Lore Croghan headed there for herself:
Sunday afternoon when I showed up, the depot gate was open wide. I walked right in.
I was plenty conspicuous, carrying a big leather-bound notebook and wearing a floor-length skirt that couldn't be mistaken for a bus driver's uniform. But there wasn't a living soul to notice me.
I spent 20 minutes taking a self-guided tour of the place. The rows of parked buses looked so eager to be off and rolling; it was a sunny afternoon, just right for a road trip.
In the middle of a lineup of Trailways, I found one bus I could make my own. Through its closed door, I saw a silvery key gleaming in the ignition. The passenger door opened with a flick of my wrist.
I stepped right in, no problem. It was mine for the taking.
Trailways had no comment for the Daily News.