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Charade of Security

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May. 20th, 2010 | 09:38 am

With all respect and sorrow for the family, the recent DC Metro blunder of not noticing a dead body on the train for half a day is just comical and a drop in the bucket. Aside from a severe drop in service quality and reliability, the Metro security measures are a joke. What if the person left behind had been a non-dead infant or child? What if they hadn't been noticed after 5 hours and instead spent the night there?

Tuesday evening, I got onto the Red Line at Dupont Circle, where someone had left a duffel bag on a seat. After the year of repeat messages for passengers to immediately report the "such simple words" situation to Metro authorities, a passenger on my car did what he was told. He used the in-car intercom to report the bag to the conductor. I commuted home, unslowed as we paused at one station after another with a "we'll be holding here momentarily" message, but without any Metro employee, police officer or otherwise ever boarding the car to assess the threat.

While the bag itself was surely benign, it is apparent the espousing of a focus on security and the taking of situations seriously (including this abandoned body found) is all a charade. It won't take long for passengers to realize their participation in the scam affects security neither one way or the other, with exception to their lack of participation being used as a scapegoat, should Metro ever be called to the table. "Oh, we'll be ready next time…" "We were acting under the official policies that were in affect at that time." I just hope I'm not around when the fan is not only hit, but when it falls off the ceiling.

That sad part is, DC has no reliable alternative transport, so it only maintains ridership by being the lesser of a pile of evils. Should a better method come along, the DC Metro system would collapse under the weight of its own big head.

More on the dead body:
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Body-found-on-train-ID_d-as-Rockville-man-94355124.html

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