by: Justin Gray Updated:
WASHINGTON - You've heard of air marshals on planes, but Channel 2’s Justin Gray discovered MARTA is now placing "bus marshals" on buses and trains.
Gray uncovered documents revealing MARTA asked the federal government for help because of a troubling rise in crime on MARTA.
Through a freedom of information act request Gray obtained a grant application where the transportation service said it needs the bus marshals to fight growing snatch-and-grab robberies on buses.
MARTA rider Roxanne Howard said she sometimes feels unsafe on MARTA, which is her only form of transportation.
“Especially at nighttime, it’s dangerous here and you don't know what might happen to anybody,” Howard said.
The bus marshals would blend in to the crowd, and will be ready to step in and stop a criminal.
Air marshals on planes have become a regular part of travel since 9/11.
MARTA said the rising problem with crime on board their buses led them to try to create something similar.
According to a grant request to get federal funding, MARTA wrote: "After a disturbing cycle of snatch thefts of electronics on our systems and minor assaults, MARTA established a bus marshal program."
According to the 2012 grant request, MARTA wanted the undercover officers on 10 percent of the fleet, but didn't have the resources to do it.
That's why they asked and received funds from the federal government for five new undercover officers.
A MARTA representative told Gray the bus marshals have helped to reduce crime, particularly a problem they were having with assaults on bus drivers.
“I've seen a lot of crazy things on the MARTA so I think that would make me feel safe, then they blend in so you wouldn't know who they were," said MARTA rider Danielle Brown.