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Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Public meeting on Metro bag checks

By Ann Scott Tyson

[This post has been updated]

The Metro Riders' Advisory Council (RAC) willtyson.gif hold a public meeting on Monday, Jan. 3, to discuss the controversial random bag inspections that Metro police launched last month in an effort to discourage terrorist attacks on the transit system.

"Due to the great public concern over this program, the RAC would like to hear from riders about their experience and opinions, and has also invited the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) to present and answer questions," said RAC Vice Chairman David Alpert in a statement announcing the meeting.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the committee room of Metro's headquarters at 600 5th St. NW.

The Riders' Advisory Council is composed of 21 members from the District, Maryland, and Virginia including at-large members and the chairman of the Accessibility Advisory Committee. Members are appointed by the Metro board of directors to represent a cross-section of riders of Metro's rail, bus, and paratransit system.

If you're planning on attending the meeting, send us your impressions via Twitter using #wmatasearch.

By Ann Scott Tyson  | January 3, 2011; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Metrobus  
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Comments

All dissenters will be photographed, identified and added to homeland security's databases.

Posted by: yell53 | December 29, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Due to the great public concern over this program, the RAC would like to hear from riders about their experience and opinions, and has also invited the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) to present and answer questions,"

So, where was this concern and desire to hear your customer's opinions BEFORE you decided to implement this policy?

Typical Metro, we don't care enough to solicit your opinion ahead of time but since you are all complaining we'll pretend to listen now.

Metro = Suck

Posted by: mika_england | December 29, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: mika_england, You're very right to ask why there wasn't public discussion of this policy before the police checkpoints were set up, but that's not the fault of the Metro Riders' Advisory Council, a 21-member citizens' panel that, as it's name implies, is supposed to advise the Metro board and staff. The council should have been advised that this rider inspection program was in the works so that it could start a public discussion, then advise the transit authority.

That didn't happen. Now, the council is trying to make it happen.

Posted by: rtthomson1 | December 29, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

So what you're saying is that this is yet another classic example of just how disjointed, dysfunctional, and uncoordinated Metro's "management" and communication processes are.

A panel that is supposed to be advising the board is somehow not aware of this. Says volumes doesn't it.

Posted by: mika_england | December 29, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if anyone will be hauled out yelling, "Don't taze me bro!"

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | December 29, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Metro needs to take some math lessons. It sounds like "doing something" to pick passengers at random and search them, but it's actually a more expensive form of doing nothing.

If Metro was looking for something common, like fiction books, then looking in 1 bag out of 50 would find something like 2% of them. There are lots of books on Metro, so you'd find books every day.

However, bombs on Metro are not as common as books. Maybe there is 1 bomb every 5 years out of millions of riders per year. That means that finding 2% of the bombs means finding one every 250 years, or one out of every 50 bomb blasts. That's the same as finding none to 1 part in a million.

Why would a non-bomber object? Maybe they have some AIDS meds in their bag that they'd rather not have publicized by Metro. Maybe they have a nice bottle of wine for their spouse that they don't want confiscated by a stupid "no liquids of food" rule.

I don't hate this idea for either of those reasons, I hate it because those officers cost money. Money I'll have to pay is increased fares if this becomes the new Metro Normal. Money that's completely wasted. Moreover it shows that Metro can't do math. They need to Google "Base Rate Fallacy", or hire some folks who took the math.

I want Metro to spend money wisely on everything that it spends money on, including security, particularly when the alternative is this sort of politician-driven unionized waste rather than real intelligence gathering for real security.

Posted by: RSaunders2 | January 1, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Back in 2008, when Metro first came up with this idiotic, demeaning, and wasteful plan that even the stupidest would-be terrorist could out-wit, the Riders Advisory Committee (RAC) voted 13-2 to ask Metro to put the plan on hold and to hold public hearings on it. Metro failed to do so, and ignored the advisory board's recommendation. Now, two years later, without having held any hearings on the plan's effectiveness or riders' wishes, Metro suddenly springs a slightly modified but equally idiotic plan on riders. Good for the RAC for once again being responsive to riders, unlike Metro. It's a shame Metro set up this advisory board of riders only to ignore them completely.

Posted by: nunca_mas_ | January 1, 2011 11:41 PM | Report abuse

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