Metro to Conduct Random Bag Searches

Washington Post tells us that teams of Metro Transit Police with dogs will be conducting random bag searches on trains and buses at times when “heightened vigilance” is required. Passengers will be taken aside at random intervals before boarding buses or entering rail stations to be screened; those who do not comply will not be detained or have their bags confiscated, but they will be denied entry.

Update: Official press release from WMATA with pictures and video.


Roving Asian mendicant, can occasionally be seen wandering the streets of downtown Washington, muttering unintelligible gibberish to passers-by while pushing a “bag lady” shopping cart full of old blankets, American flags, soda cans, and healthy secondhand snacks from organic food shop dumpsters. Used to live in a cardboard box at 16th and K but the rent was too expensive.

8 thoughts on “Metro to Conduct Random Bag Searches

  1. So when it is not “heightened vigilance”? Might that be off hours when the public actually has a higher probability of violent crime? Or high use times, when pickpockets swarm?

    And if they just deny entry to people that refuse, does that mean they’re okay with a terrorist moving from Metrorail to Metrobus?

    Please WMATA, be real. Use this really cool idea that we’ve had for a while now – its called “probable cause”.

    Got it? Search! Don’t? Bugger off.

  2. Nice that they’re worried about security, I admit. But… now that this is worked out, maybe they can get trains to run on time? Or fix elevators/escalators? Some of the other myriad problems the big rate hike in January was supposed to fund?

  3. They shouldn’t be worried about people on the Metro so much as the herd will protect the whole. It is cars and vans that I worry about that cross bridges into DC everyday unchecked. They can hold much more than a bag every could.

  4. Here is a quote about when they with do these searches:

    “Police will take steps to ensure that there will be no discernible pattern to these inspections… Inspection points will be set up at Metro facilities and passengers will go through inspections before entering a rail station or boarding a bus.”

    I can’t wait till they try this at what would be high-profile super-busy station, say Rossylin at rush hour, or Smithsonian after an event. Talk about lines, short tempers, and some really pissed off riders if people were pulled out of line for searches.

  5. And what are prohibited items? Things that look like explosives? Remind me to alert terrorists to conceal their bombs on their person instead of in bags.

    And here I thought trains were the last bastion of transit sanity.

  6. “Police will take steps to ensure that there will be no discernible pattern to these inspections.”

    Translation: we’ll stop one white grandma to make up for each brown person we harass.

    Displacing people onto buses is no guarantee they won’t be bothered either; the Supremes allowed some years ago for the po-po to stop a bus and “request” to search your bags. You don’t have to allow it if you’re willing to get off. If it just happens that the spot they stopped you is nowhere near other transportation or potentially unsafe, oh well! You can still refuse.