Transit is exploring the possibility of installing glass doors on its platforms to keep passengers safe, tracks clean and stations climate controlled, the Daily News reported today. With a recent spate of high-profile accidents involving straphangers who have fallen or were pushed into the tracks as well as concerns over debris in the tracks, the MTA is trying to focus more sealing off the station edges and are soliciting expressions of interest for plans to install platform screen doors, platform edge doors or a platform edge gate. They want, however, to find a project that involves “little or no upfront costs” to the authority, according to the Request for Information.
“We are very early in the process,” Kevin Ortiz, Transit spokesman, said to the News, “of looking at the possibility of installing platform doors that would go a long way toward enhancing passenger safety and station appearance.”
According to the RFI, Transit is looking for vendors who can a proposal with a variety of attributes. First, the authority wants something that won’t require service diversions to install, and they want a system that can be controlled remotely and opened in case of emergency. Due to varying car lengths on the B Division, Transit wants a system that can detect and respond to door placements.
Learning from previous mistakes, Transit is searching for a system that requires “minimal preventative maintenance” that can withstand an “extreme operating environment.” The doors must be tamper and vandal resistant and must have space for informational displays and advertising posters. It must integrate well within the existing infrastructure and station technology and should be compatible with the various signaling and CBTC systems. The authority also said it will consider only venders whose systems that “have been proven in large-scale applications” in a “heavy-rail environment.”
It’s hard to dislike this project. Doors would keep passengers safely away from tracks, allow for a more temperate station environment and keep garbage on the platforms where it is easier to clean. For the MTA, though, the key is cost. As I mentioned, the authority wants to pay as little as possible and could pursue revenue-sharing plans with the chosen vendor. Otherwise, this project, as previous MTA officials have warned, will be too expensive. Still, any excitement over this project may be a bit premature. The response to the RFIs are due in March, and the authority will then evaluate whether or not it wants to proceed with an RFP process.