For Your Safety…

Lately, I’ve been taking the 9:20 Forge Park/495 outbound to Back Bay, in an attempt to avoid having to go through downtown, especially in the last couple of months when the Red Line has had numerous slowdowns. It’s worked out really well: I’m getting to work consistently on time.

Today at 9:17, the big board at South Station changed to “Delayed” for the 9:20 Forge Park. Now, for those of you who don’t ride the commuter rail, “Delayed” is a rare beast. It could be 10 minutes after the departure time and the board still reads “On Time.” “Delayed” means something is up.

Given that I don’t have all day to wait around and find out when no announcement is made, I turned and bolted down the escalators to the Red Line.

As I hit the bottom of the escalators I picked up speed jogging when I heard “The next train to Alewife is now approaching,” since I knew I’d need a steady pace to get down 2 stories before the train left. And that’s when it happened.

“Sir. Sir!”
I looked up to see a man in bright yellow standing in my path. Soon-to-be- eliminated Customer service agent? Nope. Transit police.
“Step to the side. Random Security Screening.”

In the past, when I’ve seen them doing these checkpoints, I’ve avoided them using the all-to-easy “use the other entrance” trick. This guy, really popped out of nowhere, and the checkpoint was located way out of the line of sight of anyone heading down to the Red Line from the station. I guess I should give them props for finally making it a little less obvious where they’re standing and checking and letting people go around them.

The “check” was ridiculously fast. I was expecting a quick search through my backpack, but all they did was wipe the straps with a piece of cloth and ran it through a machine and I was on my way.

I’m not entirely sure what they were looking for, but I’d imagine a good guess would be some sort of chemical agent. Either way, I spent about 30 seconds between waiting for someone in front of me to finish and for the system to run an analysis.

All and all, I’m all for an increased police presence, especially if they’re effective like they were today. Of course, I could have had a loaded gun in the bag and no one would have noticed, but I guess testing for… something… is a start.

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~ by Wow on April 17, 2009.

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