Monday, October 26, 2009

Will more delays mean increased safety?

MTA Police announced a new security program for MARC stations to start this Friday. The announcement also warns passengers to plan for delays (maybe police could coordinate with dispatchers and screen people when trains are running 10-20 minutes late). I have a number of questions about this announcement: Why now? Why doesn't MARC inspect tickets before passengers board trains (as Amtrak does) to increase safety? How do we know the searches will be random and won't become profiling? Will the searches cause more delays on an already problematic system? I'm going to try to make the meeting with MARC managers this Thursday evening so I'll see if they can answer any of my questions.

Police Security Checkpoints at MARC Stations

Random Security Checks Planned for MARC Stations:
Customers Urged To Allow For Extra Time

BALTIMORE, MD (October 26, 2009) – Focused on enhancing security at MARC commuter rail stations along the Penn, Camden and Brunswick Lines, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) police in partnership with security and canine teams from the Maryland Transportation Authority and the Transit Security Administration will begin random security screenings at stations beginning October 30, 2009. Screenings can potentially involve the check of luggage, packages, or other carry-on items customers may have in their possession. While every effort will be made to conduct the security checks in a timely fashion, customers should be prepared that extra time may be required to board their train.

“The MTA continually engages in methods of ensuring customer safety and system preservation,” said Lt. Colonel John E. Gavrilis, Acting Chief of Police. “These exercises underscore our commitment to the safety and security of our customers and systems. If you hear, see or smell something suspicious, call 1-800-492-TIPS (8477). ”

The MTA police thank customers for their patience and cooperation as the agency works to enhance security throughout the MARC system.

October 26, 2009 1:30 PM

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