Though WMATA has supposedly launched the new bag searches, little has been reported on the experiences of D.C. metro riders. A small online petition was put up to collect signatures from those opposed to bag checks being implemented for Metrorail and Metrobus riders. Online petitions are not known for their effectiveness, but you may consider signing it if these new searches are troublesome.
Here is a video created by WMATA documenting how quick and painless the scans will be. I can only imagine that it will not always be that nice and easy. Given the frequency of delays on the Metro, potentially missing a train that has actually made it to the platform during rush hour will not painless. The most-liked Youtube comment below the video reads: “Pretty sure WMATA is more likely to kill me than a terrorist attack? anywhere in the system.” An interesting comment, given their safety record.
Two telling quotes from Metro Transit Chief Michael Taborn:
Taborn said that transit officers will not perform an inspection without permission and that any rider can decline to have his or her bag inspected and leave the station. Asked if an agent would likely follow up with that rider, Taborn said, “There’s always a possibility.”
So, like our experiences with the TSA, if you decline the useless harassment and decide on a different method of commuting, be prepared to spend some time answering questions from the police.
The second quote:
Taborn said the decision to implement screenings now had nothing to do with a recent Metro bomb plot or with funding. He said the agency already has the equipment and manpower in place and that a series of grants from TSA will mean the initiative “won’t cost anything.”
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as free equipment and manpower. Sure, using police officers and expensive equipment won’t cost anything for anyone. Wait, who funds the TSA again?
Photo Credit: Dave Reid’s Flickr Photostream.