Why you should not attempt to board while doors are closing

Why you should not attempt to board while doors are closing

After a "stroller mom" shoved her stroller-bound baby into closing train doors, and the train took off with the baby and stroller, the CTA began requiring rail operators to make the additional announcement: "Please do no attempt to board, doors are closing."

But today I learned the announcement was not just to keep babies from being flung onto the tracks. It's to prevent door troubles and subsequent delays.

We were stopped at Lawrence southbound on the Red Line when the motorman made the usual announcement: "Please do not attempt to board, doors are closing." Then I saw a 20-something guy come barreling up the steps. He stuck his hand in the doors just before they closed and flung the doors open. He triumphantly sat down, all out of breath.

The motorman again tried to close the doors. And again. And again. All to no avail.
The motorman made his way to our car and tried to trip the door relays
and manually close them. But they were hopelessly stuck. By now we had
wasted five minutes fiddling with the doors.

The motorman
announced he had to vacate our car since the doors wouldn't close. And
another employee came along to ride shotgun in the incapacitated rail
car and make sure no one else attempted to board. We waited a few more
minutes while everyone left that car and reboarded on other cars.

We -- and every other train north of us -- were delayed 10 minutes.

So really people, do not attempt to board the train while doors are closing.

Comments

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  • Except it's not really that guy's fault as the doors have sensitive edges which are supposed to open any door when there's an obstruction.
    But if you had watched Channel 2 News over the last 10 or more years, Pam Zekman has repeatedly had reports of these sensitive edges [a ribbon switch inside the rubber] failing to work correctly.
    This is a design, manufacturing & maintenance issue.
    It's also a motorman problem, since he obviously wasn't looking as the doors closed, or he would have seen the guy & reversed his switch to open the doors.
    And if the lights on each door had gone out, while this guy stuck his hand in, then again, it's a design, manufacturing & maintenance issue.
    They don't seem to have this problem in New York or the hundreds of other cities with subways!.
    And millions of elevators also don't have their doors break down due to someone sticking something in them.
    And I was on the train immediately behind! The motorman made an announcement about the door problems.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Absolutely it's the guys fault. He physically forced the door open and broke it...

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Having visited many countries in south america and Asia, what exactly is the problem with riding with the doors open. As far as I know there isn't an alarming number of train injuries in Argentina from the doors being open. Darwin will solve this problem naturally.

    Not to mention this announcement is pointless. I'm getting on the train no matter what. I'm going to hold the doors no matter what. I'm not going to wait in the cold for another f-ing train when I can step into the one right in front of me.

  • Yeah sorry Scooter. You're right. It's always the CTA's fault. Never the fault of passengers who are warned not to do something, and then do it.

    Even though you were on the train behind me, you must have seen what I saw differently.

    Again, what I saw was a passenger bounding out of the shelter of the steps at the last second, and flinging the doors that were almost closed open with great force. There's no way the motorman could have reacted quickly enough to open the doors.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    You're the CTA Kool-Aid drinker that doesn't get it.
    Everywhere else in the world, the doors withstand this abuse.
    In Japan, they use pushers on the platforms to jam people into the cars so the doors can close.
    Only the CTA manages to have these persistent door problems.
    Repeat, only the CTA!
    Why?
    Poor design, incompetent oversight of the manufacturer & atrocious maintenance!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter I think you may be mistaken about this kind of event never happening on other transit systems. I have lived in 4 different cities with subway systems and this type of event occurs in each of them. If you need to see an example of this please search for an NBC Washington article from April 28, 2010 regarding the Metro doors shutting on someones neck for over 20 seconds at the New York Avenue Station.

    Typically, heavy rail doors are not meant to retract automatically like elevator doors. When the doors are closing they close until the train operator reopens them. This is why if you try to force the doors from closing you will feel the tension of the doors trying to continue to close. If they didn't do this many trains would continue to sit at stations for extreme periods of time as people continued to hold the doors open.

    If you need confirmation on this you can search for this fact online and should be able to find it relatively easily. There are plenty of articles confirming this regarding the NYC subway system that you seem to think is so flawless. I am in no way saying that you are incorrect about international subway systems since they are typically superior to our American ones, but in regards to American transit I think you may need to ride a few more systems more frequently to realize that we have a decent transit systems in Chicago for being in the U.S.

  • In reply to RFlores80:

    You don't read very well, do you?
    CTA rail doors are specifically designed to retract when they contact something.
    That's the purpose of the "sensitive edges" which contain ribbon switches within them!
    I'm not saying the NYC system is flawless, but it carries ten times the CTA's load & has half the problems.
    The CTA is a poorly run agency & has been its entire existence.

  • In reply to RFlores80:

    I suppose we still don't need conductors.

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    Conductors with tasers.

  • In reply to ibilldavis:

    People throwing caution and courtesy to the winds to try to catch a train pulling out--that's still a problem on other levels. Even if it were the responsibility of the train equipment to accommodate it, what of the fact that energetic and impetuous individuals feel it's OK to shove everyone aside, make a dash and take chances every time they even think they are about to miss a train? And I have to wonder if the new displays assuring everyone there will soon be another train will have any effect on this type of mentality and behavior? Impatience in public venues often leads to a safety issue--that's the larger point--let's not deflect it by arguing about door mechanisms.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    You can go on & on, but you can't change human behavior.
    So the door mechanisms must allow for this.
    The doors failed, that's the point, the only point!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Sure, human behavior can be changed. That's what the history of civilization is all about. And you are not the only one who gets to say what the point is.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    It's rare, but I have to agree with Scooter on this one. You can't change behavior. Those annoying "don't board while the doors are closing" messages haven't changed people's behavior one bit.

    The conductors are the worst offenders, though. So many of them say this as the doors are OPENING, that all that message has done is train people to completely ignore that and the recorded "doors closing" message.

    I don't understand why it's so hard to just play the recorded message once, just before the doors are actually closing and be done with it. That's how it works in every other city I've been in. Instead, 75% of conductors play the recorded message immediately after the door are open. Half say "doors closing, do not attempt to board this train" while the doors are opening, before anyone has even had a chance to exit. A whole lot of them play the recorded message continuously until they are ready to close the door - usually about 4-5 times per stop. It's laughable.

  • In reply to tambreet:

    I was on one train last week where the motorman's announcement was "do not attempt to board this train, the doors...."
    That was it every station.
    The motorman's announcement is a joke & in my experience, it's only done downtown, where CTA management might take one of its rare trips on an actual train in revenue service.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I like the ones that use past and pretense together.

  • In reply to tambreet:

    There are no conductors. There are only motormen.

  • In reply to tambreet:

    You are right about the ridiculous way in which the announcement is made, but that's just an example of how not to change behavior. Because of the nonsensical timing, it doesn't count as actually communicating--in fact it trains people to disregard anything the CTA may say.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    But Scoooter doesn't need that training.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    The single most annoying fucking thing about riding the CTA is that announcement at every...single...stop that does absolutely nothing, frankly. You're not going to stop idiots from being idiots, regardless.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Now lets just imagine how Da' Mayor's Two-track Express and Local Bi-directional Passing Crossover Interlaced Premium-fare Airport Express service would have worked overlaid on the existing "CTA Efficient" Blue Line 'L' services.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    And you're just an asshole. I'd rather drink the kool-aid.

  • In reply to painhertz:

    Just for the record, I really don't like it when my readers call each other names. So let's please stop. Thanks.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Even better...I'll just stop reading. Specially If I have to read the crap Scooter spews.

  • In reply to painhertz:

    I'd certainly hate to lose you as a reader. I suggest just don't read Scooter! I post a lot more frequently than he does! ;-)

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Again, you're right Scooter. Passengers should continue to fling their bodies at the doors and cause delays for hundreds of other passengers to prove that the doors are poorly designed.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    1. I am right.
    2. I didn't say that people should "fling their bodies at the doors"!

    The doors were designed to open upon encountering a blockage.
    I repeat, Pam Zekman has done numerous stories on this subject & the repeated failures of the door's "sensitive edges".
    The doors don't work as they were supposedly designed.
    Therefore, either the design is faulty, the manufacturing is faulty, the maintenance is faulty or a combination of all or part of them!

    My overhead garage door opener has two reversing mechanisms.
    One is the photocell that reverse the door if the light beam is blocked. The other is a switch in the opener itself that will cause the door to reverse if it's blocked.
    That is adjustable with the force control screw.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I think I'm going to take a screenshot of myself typing this, but for once, Scoooooooooter has a point. Every other transit system I've taken has handled the situation just fine. Whether the CTA trains' doors were poorly designed or are finally failing over time, there's no question they *could* handle it. And it would be much safer and faster if they did. (And if the passenger in question had to force the doors, that suggests the ribbon switch Scooooter mentions was defective. That's the safety issue, not the passenger barging in.)

  • In reply to BobS:

    Sure, you can blame the CTA for the doors not functioning properly, yadda yadda, but why can't people follow directions? Seriously! It's called common courtesy. Another train will follow in a few minutes. But instead, this jackass decided that he needed to get in this train right at this moment, and his actions resulted in a delay for hundreds of passengers. Bottom line: if he wasn't such a selfish ass who can't follow simple directions, this wouldn't have happened.

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