Random Bag Checks Starts at DC-Area Metro Stations

By Brett Zongker | December 21, 2010 | 12:09 PM EST

College Park, Md. (AP) - The Washington area's Metro transit system is randomly checking passenger bags for explosives and other dangers for the first time, following similar efforts in New York and Boston.

Screeners swabbed some riders' bags and inspected them in at least two Metro train stations early Tuesday in Maryland and Virginia suburbs of the nation's capital. The checks took less than one minute each.

Metro Transit Police Department Chief Michael Taborn said the idea has been in the works for years and is not a response to any particular threat. Two men have been arrested this year in separate cases of alleged bomb plots against the system.

Two rights groups have an online petition against Metro's program. The ACLU lost a 2005 challenge against New York's searches.