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Will Amtrak’s increased security slow passengers?

This week, Amtrak announced plans to beef up security at stations and on trains. “Mobile Security Teams” made up of Amtrak police, plus “explosives-detecting K-9 units and armed counter-terrorism special agents in tactical uniforms” (does anyone know what a “tactical uniform” is?) will be screening passengers, randomly inspecting baggage, and patrolling stations.

In its press release, Amtrak insists these procedures won’t affect train schedules. It says, “Random passenger baggage inspection is a quick process and typically will take less than a minute. The randomly-selected boarding passengers can expect the Mobile Security Team to move swiftly and in a minimally intrusive manner to ensure passenger travel time is not affected.”

Let’s hope so, because Amtrak’s main selling point is that passengers don’t have to spend a lot of extra time jumping through all the hoops (airport check-in, security lines, baggage claim, and so on) that make air travel a time-consuming process. Take the convenience factor away and you just have a slower, albeit often more comfortable way to get between cities.

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