The July 23 article "Metro's Response to Alert Delayed; Riders Say Backpack Slow to Be Removed" reminded me why I don't ride Metro.

In September 2003 I was the first to board an empty Metrobus at the Ballston station. I noticed a large backpack under a seat and pointed it out to the driver. The driver said something to the effect of, "Someone must have left it." No kidding.

I got off the bus and watched in disbelief as the driver retrieved the backpack and brought it to the front of the bus. Other passengers stayed aboard, and the bus proceeded on its route.

While waiting for another bus, I tried to call Metro security to discuss the incident and to inquire about its policies. I was told that the security office was closed.

Judging from this latest story, it sounds as though the security office still hasn't opened.

COLETTE DESMARAIS

Falls Church

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The article on Metro security reminded me of an incident last summer on the Orange Line. A group of teenage girls boarded my train and started harassing an older boy who had an iPod. Harassment led to physical assault, and passengers attempted to intervene. The girls grabbed the iPod and fled at the Minnesota Avenue station.

During the assault, I called the emergency line and reported the incident, then reported that the girls had exited at the Minnesota Avenue station. We sat on the train for two or three minutes while the driver called Metro administration. The driver then told us that a security official would meet the victim at New Carrollton, four stops away at the end of the line.

When we got to New Carrollton, there was no security official. When I berated the driver for not waiting at Minnesota Avenue for security, he said a Metro official told him that he had to proceed to the end of the line.

Is it Metro's policy to proceed, come hell or high water?

The incident this month in which a passenger on the New York subway was killed for an iPod makes my experience even more troubling.

STUART YAEL GORDON

Annapolis

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The July 23 story about the backpack left on the Blue Line said that passengers contacted the train operator about the unattended bag. Although Metro repeatedly has asked riders to report unattended packages, the train operator apparently ignored the passengers and continued running the train.

A passenger in another car on that train said that she saw people hitting the train's windows and running for the exits. But the Metro operator still proceeded to the next station.

When that passenger exited the train, she contacted Metro police, who told her they had not been informed about the package.

Are Metro's directives to riders just platitudes?

BRIAN NYE

Vienna