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Message to Customers: Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Paul Fleuranges: I'm Paul Fleuranges with an In the News podcast on TransitTrax, New York City Transit's podcast service.

In most instances, holding a door is a sign of good manners. Not so when those doors belong to a subway train.

((Train Audio – “Stand clear of the closing doors please”))

As a regular subway rider, you've probably heard that or a variation thereof hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. Yet many riders ignore that message, and instead try to squeeze in at the last minute, only to get caught between the doors, going nowhere fast.

Paul Fleuranges: Herbie Lambert is the A Line General Manager for the Department of Subways.

Herbie Lambert, A Line General Manager: It has a ripple affect along the line. So if you’re delaying the train and it further compounds itself up the line or down the line and eventually the train arrives at the terminal late.

Paul Fleuranges: With a finite number of trains able to run on one line at any given time, Lambert says holding doors is the last thing a rider should do

Herbie Lambert: Because the train operates on a schedule and each train has an allotted dwell time at each station, and if the train exceeds its allotted dwell time in one particular station that slows the train down and then when the train arrives at the next station it just further compounds the trains lateness and has a negative ripple effect on train service.

Paul Fleuranges: And the numbers back that up. In 2008, customers holding doors were responsible for more than 9-thousand late trains. As of August 2009, customers holding doors were responsible for some 7,500 delayed trains. Which is why New York City Transit began posting SubTalk car cards with the headline “PLEASE DON’T HOLD THE DOORS.“  Directly beneath that is a red figure with a leg stuck in the closing doors of a subway car. It looks pretty uncomfortable, and it is. Despite that it still happens daily, amounting to real time lost for our customers and our trains.

Herbert Lambert: And the longer that train sits in one particular station that’s preventing the rest of the line, the rest of the trains from moving along the line.

Paul Fleuranges: The campaign will be seen in over two-thousand subway cars on all subway lines. Subway conductors reinforce the message and often remind customers with their message of: (Recording: “Ladies and gentlemen for your safety please do not hold the car doors open while the train is in the station.“) On new trains this message is automated.

((SOUND: “Stand clear of the closing doors please.”))

Automated or not, the message remains the same…Just don’t do it.
For TransitTrax, I'm Paul Fleuranges. Thanks for listening and thanks for riding with New York City Transit.