WTF? "Do not attempt to board this train. . ."

The announcements by rail operators about minding the closing doors are getting sloppier and sloppier.

Earlier this week I heard the operator make this announcement just after he had opened the doors:

“Do not attempt to board this train – doors are closing.”

Now, if you were an out-of-town visitor or infrequent rider, you might
wonder what was wrong with the train when the operator warns you to not
attempt to board the train.

Of course, these announcement started early this year after some highly
publicized incidents of passengers trying to board rail cars as the
doors were closing.

In one incident last November, a woman tried to shove a stroller – with
her baby in it – into the door. Unfortunately, the doors closed on the
stroller, dragging the stroller and baby, before both were spewed onto
the tracks. The baby was unhurt, but the ensuing shrieking sure harmed
the CTA. It ordered operators to start making the silly announcements.

I suggest that the CTA should revisit the need for these verbal
announcements. At the very least, the CTA should demand that its
operators make more cogent announcements, emphasizing the safety aspect
of it.


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  • If the live announcements are supposed to clarify and amplify the simple "Ding-dong! Doors closing!" automated announcement, it seems that the sequence should be: "Ding-dong! Doors closing!" "Please do not attempt to board this train; the doors are closing." And the doors close. Operators seem to have invented a wide variety of variations, some of which make little sense, as you point out.

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    I was thinking along similar lines. If the announcement is now part of regular routine, Mr. CTA should record it.

  • I don't care what the announcements are, I'm still going to board the hell out of a train if I can. I don't care if the doors are closing. Nothing is going to keep me from getting home faster. I'mm force those doors open if I can just to get on. No announcement, live or recorded, is going to stop people from getting on a train when in a hurry.

    My solution: Have a CTA employee (or GASP, two!) visually checking the train to let the operator know it's safe to pull out of the station. Hey, that's like 300 jobs I just created! Maybe I should run for mayor...

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    Andy-Kid - that's the problem. It doesn't matter what a CTA operator says - people will still try to board the train when doors are closing. The CTA is just trying to save itself from lawsuits.

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    And it doesn't matter that the CTA train operators make that announcement or not since there are some that still pull away from the station without checking to make sure the doors are closed and people do not have hands or other items stuck in the doors.

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    After riding Toronto's subway system last summer, it became apparent how chaotic our door operations are in comparison. In Toronto, after an appropriate amount of time, a simple chime sounds, the doors close, and the train moves on. Period.

    Compare that to the all-too-common experience in Chicago. The operator first plays the pre-recorded "doors closing" before most passengers have had a chance to board, let alone finish exiting the train. When the operator is actually serious about closing the doors, he or she plays the pre-recorded announcement AGAIN, followed by the silly "Please do not attempt to board" announcement. The doors then close, only to re-open one or more additional times. Total chaos and it happens far too often.

    These seconds wasted with inefficient door operations can add up, particularly on long lines like the Red Line, and easily cause a train to fall minutes behind schedule.

    CTA needs to rethink the entire door-closing procedure to improve efficiency. Operators consistently abuse the "doors closing" announcement by playing it too early and too often. The result is that no one takes it seriously, and the same quickly held true for the "Please do not attempt to board" nonsense.

  • In reply to zolk:

    When this last came up here, I said that the problem isn't with the passengers, but with the motormen who insist on hitting the "doors closing" announcement too soon.
    My solution was to link the two actions into a single operation.
    The first time the motorman wants to close the doors, the announcement automatically plays because the actually door closing is delayed for the announcement.

    Los Angeles also has just a "ding, ding, ding" sound before the doors close.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I agree that linking the two actions could go a long way to help solve the problem. The new 5000-series trains have an additional chime that is linked to the closing of the doors, but the traditional "doors closing" announcement remains independently-controlled by the operator. That clearly needs to change to prevent abuse.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Passenger and motorman behavior won't change w/ dings and messages. Motormen must follow the same consistent door open/close procedure because controlling passengers is impossible.

    Passengers: You have visitors, neophytes, people with bikes, strollers, and shoppers who think nothing of lugging an Ikea-like package on board the train, drunks, people with disabilities ... a microcosm of humanity riding transit. How can you control something you can't predict? The folks that behave like ladies and gents will be under control, it's everyone else we have to worry about.

    Motermen: Trained, certified, approved, experienced whatever the right word is ... they must all be graded on their performance to conduct their job and for those that waiver or do their jobs poorly, they should be warned, suspended w/o pay, then fired. No other employer in the world decides it's a good idea to yield efficiency to the trust of others except for other unions. There are plenty of willing people out there to learn the trade who could be better than the protected workers now.

    Maybe we'll get a new Mayor who decides to play hardball to help reinvigorate the CTA workforce facing the public.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Try riding the Red line north bound in the evening at rush hour. The recorded announcements are turn off and the operators SCREAM about doors closing. I know of both a male and female operator that must have a lot of anger. I have tried many of times to get the "Run" number off the recorded announcements however like I mentioned they turn them off so you are unable to report.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Ride in the first car & just look in the motorman's window for the run number.

  • In reply to zolk:

    I also heard this ridiculous announcement on the Green Line yesterday.

    On another subject, I've noticed on some 2600 cars, a set of guides has been installed in the floor to prevent the doors from being pushed out from the bottom.
    Is this new & is it just for the 2600s or are all the cars going to get this?

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    "I don't care what the announcements are, I'm still going to board the hell out of a train if I can."

    And therein lies the root of the problem.

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    If that announcement is so important, have be among the various pre-recorded announcements. It cost us taxpayers $5.4 million dollars for it, let's get our money's worth.

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    there called conductors. Rembember them prior to November 9, 1997?

  • Someone forgot to take their meds today...

  • At busy stops like Belmont and Fullerton in the evenings, people aren't even finished getting OFF the train before they start threatening to close the doors. It's not as if they are taking their sweet time about it, it's just a crowded train with a large number of people exiting--maybe a third of the people on the car clearing out. And I do believe we're supposed to let them all off before we try to get on. Right, CTA?

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