Commuters at the Braddock Metro station were among the first in the region asked to undergo random bag searches Tuesday morning, days after officials announced the new security measure.
Feelings were mixed among those racing to catch a train bound for the city. Paul Westerberg, an Alexandria resident, worried the searches would cause delays and inconvenience during an already hectic time of the day.
Its just going to slow everything down, he said. Its more of an inconvenience, but I understand what theyre trying to do.
WMATA officials announced the controversial tactic, designed to deter terrorist strikes on the national capitals mass transit system, December 16. In a statement, Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn touted the measure as another layer of security for passengers and employees.
Randomly selected carry-on items will be checked for hazardous materials, using K-9 units trained to detect explosives and ionization technology. Passengers refusing to submit to the search will be barred from taking those items with them on the Metro, according to officials.
Bill Harvey, a Springfield resident who rides the Metro from Braddock Road about four times a week, didnt mind the searches. Its par for the course in Washington, he said.
Its all about security and any of us are suspects, Harvey said. Its part of the system. I have to stand in line just about anywhere I go now to be checked.