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Metro, Verizon Partner Deal to Cut Service

Thursday - 7/14/2005, 1:54pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- One week after the London bombings, WTOP Radio has learned that Metro can make it impossible for you to use your cell phone in train tunnels during a terror threat.

Metro CEO Richard White says the plans and technology are now in place that would allow Metro to order Verizon to shut off cell service in its tunnels. White says the decision would be made on a case-by-case basis.

"We do have that capability, now it becomes a judgement as to how and when we do something like that," White tells WTOP. "If in our opinion it was something that was important to do, whether we received advice from federal authorities."

White won't specify on what kind of threat would warrant cell phone shut down.

"Not unless there was a specific situation that would be brought to our attention where in our judgement or in partnership with federal and other law enforcement authorities that it might be a prudent action to take."

Verizon won't share how it would turn off it service in Metro tunnels, but says it could be done quickly.


Metro Looking to Inspect Passenger Bags

WASHINGTON - Metro is considering whether to randomly inspect train passengers bags.

CEO Richard White says inspectors would most likely check bags of passengers while they're waiting on the platform for a train. White says Metro is sensitive about balancing security concerns with privacy concerns.

Metro Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson is researching the legal issues and talking to peers at other transit systems to see how they have handled similar inspections.

(Copyright 2005 by WTOP Radio. All Rights Reserved.)