17 December 2004

<i>The Metro</i>

A snippet in today's Metro shines light on why the trains were running so intermittently during yesterday's commute home:

False alarms caused two MBTA stations to be evacuated yesterday after suspicious packages were found.

The first evacuation occurred in the morning at Ashmont Station. A comuter informed T police that a styrofoam cooler with the words "biological research"  had been left behind on one of the buses, said T spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

The container was sent to the State Police Lab, where authorities determined that inside was only a trash bag tied in a knot, said Pesaturo. The station was closed for three hours, and during that time commuters were bused from Fields Corner, said Pesaturo.

Later in the afternoon, a T employee found an unattended paper bag on the platform of Alewife Station prompting another evacuation. Tests done at the scene by a hazardous materials unit discovered that the bag contained a cold pack, said Pesaturo.

Regular service resumed after three hours of interruption.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, public transport in the era of orange-level alerts: 6 hours of delays for a trash bag tied in a knot and a cold pack. If I write "Nuclear Bomb" on a suitcase and leave it in South Station, will they shut down the whole city?

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