In a previous post, a Metro spokesman said doors are a main reasons for delays, and even though they don’t keep stats, the spokesman wrote in an email “more often than not, door problems stem from someone attempting to hold the doors open.”
As we mentioned before, we’ve seen people cram through doors, and the Metro spokesman wrote they’d “even seen mothers try to block the doors with baby strollers!” Mothers!
They added that Metro’s doors are not designed like elevator doors because they don’t bounce back when something blocks them. “If this were the case, the trains would never move because the doors would never close,” they wrote.
If the operator cannot get the “all doors closed” signal, he cannot move the train. To remedy this, the spokesman wrote, the operator will bump the doors (open and close rapidly) (ding dong) to try and free whatever might be blocking the doors. This remedy also can create problems as customers take this as another opportunity to crowd into an already jam packed car, keeping the doors from closing, they wrote.
If several more attempts to get the “all doors closed” are not successful, the operator must then have all the customers exit the train, the door circuit is over-ridden; the train is taken out of service and then has to be inspected to find the problem, wrote the spokesman. If it is determined that there are no problems, the train is put back in service, they wrote.
The spokesman said that Metro has tried to raise awareness of the problem through new station announcements and signs, but that they thought the most important way to stop people from blocking doors was through “peer pressure.”
“Ask your fellow travelers not to block the doors, and tell them why,” they wrote. “It really does work. If you don’t believe [peer pressure] would work on door blocking, think about how it has worked for escalators. Standing on the right was never something Metro promoted, that was a custom developed by our riders.”
OK. well, peer pressure might work to some degree, but the real problem here seems to be poorly designed doors. Obviously, new doors would be a big expense, but we think it’s something Metro should look into. It’s simply infuriating to have a train “go out of service” and then watch it head on down the track.
And, um, standing on the right on escalators is not unique to Metro. It's a pretty universal practice, if not always followed.
Do you think peer pressure is the answer here?
Suspicious package an empty can (WaPo)