As Flu Season Approaches, Metro Officers Free Sanitizer

In anticipation of the upcoming flu season, The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has distributed free waterless hand sanitizer and information at local area Metro stations over the past three days.

“The project is an outreach on our part to be able to provide these resources to customers,” Metro spokesperson Steven Taubenkibel said.

The first 1,000 passengers to ride the Metro between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. received the free bottles and health information from Metro officials, according to the Metro press release.

The project is funded through the Metro’s Office of Safety budget along with the added contribution of 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer by W.W. Grainger, Inc.’s local Lanham, Md. office.

etro partnered with local public health agencies of Fairfax, Arlington and Prince George Counties, the city of Alexandria and District of Columbia two years ago to raise awareness of effective ways to reduce the spread of disease.

Five percent to 20 percent of the United State’s population gets the flu every year, according to the Metro press release. With 700,000 passengers per week, the transit system is an easy place to catch it.

Taubenkibel acknowledged Metro’s awareness of the norovirus outbreak at Georgetown, but stated it had no effect on this program, which had been previously planned.

Though Taubenkibel said there were no plans for the project again next year. He emphasized the project’s goal to “remind [passengers] what they can do themselves to lessen the chance of catching a cold”.

-Marie Sahrmann

Transit Police Begin Random Bag Searches on Metro

As part of the new Security Inspection Program, the Metro Transit Police Department announced Monday that it will begin random searches of passengers’ bags in an effort to increase rider safety.

The MTPD did not say when inspections would begin, but according to a press release, the inspections could occur at any time. Signs were posted in Metro entrances on Monday to inform passengers of the potential inspections.

“Inspections could take place at any Metrorail station or Metrobus stop. They will be random, unannounced and focused on explosive detection,” Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said in a press release.

etro is taking steps in the weeks before and after the election to increase its safety measures as the United States may be vulnerable, stated the release.

According to the press release, a specially trained group of MTP Officers will be conducting searches in bags like brief cases, purses, backpacks, boxes, gym bags and suitcases.

A team of five to eight MTP officers and a trained explosive-detection dog will conduct the screenings at the inspection sites. Riders randomly selected to be searched will be taken to the side and the riders’ bags will be searched. Those who refuse to be searched will not be allowed to enter the Metro.

TP met with Transportation Security Administration and transit agency officials from Boston, New York and New Jersey to learn more about their respective bag inspection programs before planning to implement the new Security Inspection Program, according to a press release.

TP said this new program has been introduced to heighten the awareness of its passengers, making safety measures more visible in an attempt to deter terrorist attacks.

According to The Washington Post, the inspection stands to affect the 1.2 million passengers who ride the Metro in a typical week, as D.C.’s rail system is second only to New York’s in rider traffic.

-Chiara Connor

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.