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Washington DC metro tries ways to smooth station stops

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  • kiwehtin
    Helping Riders Pick Up the Pace Metro to Test New Doorway Voice, Signs to Keep Passengers Moving By Lyndsey Layton Washington Post Staff Writer Friday,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2005
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      Helping Riders Pick Up the Pace
      Metro to Test New Doorway Voice, Signs to Keep Passengers Moving
      By Lyndsey Layton
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Friday, December 2, 2005; Page A01

      Losing Sandy Carroll's mellow voice is the first step of several
      Metro decided yesterday that it will try to smooth the flow of
      humanity through the country's second-busiest subway system, behind
      New York's. In a transit system bulging with a record 707,885 riders
      a day, the movement of people in downtown stations is not orderly. It
      is not calm. It is not pretty.

      Crowds are gumming up the works. Clashing armies of commuters block
      each other from reaching trains or escalators. Passengers waiting to
      board rail cars smash into those trying to leave. Most horrifying to
      Metro officials, these chaotic dances delay the trains.

      After pondering the problems for five years, the Metro board of
      directors approved several pilot projects that will start in
      February, aiming to move people on and off trains and escalators with
      speed, grace and, maybe, civility.

      "We're trying to move as many trains through the system as we can,"
      said Jim Hughes, Metro's acting assistant general manager for
      operations. "Part of that is cutting the amount of time in the
      stations and getting people on and off as quickly as we can."

      Many train delays are caused by riders dashing into cars at the last
      second. "The message and the door chime have become a little like the
      yellow signal on a traffic light," Hughes said. "The purpose of the
      chime is to tell people to step back, that doors are closing. But our
      customers hear that, and they run to get on a train. . . . It's got
      to be a different voice, something that sounds different, because
      right now it's background noise."

      The engineers who designed Metro counted on trains spending about 15
      seconds in each station to let riders get on and off before moving
      on. That worked when Metro opened in 1976, and ridership was low.

      But now, trains are spending 30 seconds to 35 seconds in the busiest
      downtown stations, Hughes said. Any longer, and Metro's ability to
      run the maximum number of trains during the peak hour will start to
      be hampered, he said. Several months ago, Hughes dispatched an
      internal team of architects, engineers, station managers, train
      supervisors and escalator experts to videotape the way people move
      around stations and find low-cost improvements.

      To help smooth the emptying and loading of trains, Metro will test
      platform markers at Union Station, Gallery Place-Chinatown and Metro
      Center. The markers will indicate where to line up with rail-car
      doors once a train pulls into a station. The idea is to get people
      ready to board before the train arrives and out of the way of exiting
      passengers. Although most riders wait at the sides of the doors to
      give passengers room to exit, plenty of people plant themselves
      directly in front of the doors. A brazen few try to muscle their way
      on while people are getting off.

      (...)

      The rest of the article is at this URL:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/01/
      AR2005120101955.html?nav=rss_print/asection

      I can attest from two years' personal experience, to how often the
      initial "Doors closing" message changes to "Please stand clear of the
      doors", repeated over and over again for as long as a minute or more
      at times, while the doors reopen then re-close, reopen and re-close,
      ad nauseam...

      Christopher Miller
      Montreal QC Canada




      Christopher Miller
      Montreal QC Canada
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