Home MTA Absurdity Revisiting the reaction to the glass doors

Revisiting the reaction to the glass doors

by Benjamin Kabak

Platform screen doors aren't as crazy an idea as politicians and newspaper columnists think.

When the Daily News got wind of the MTA’s Request for Information concerning the possibility of installing glass doors on subway platforms, it seemed like a harmless news story. The authority wasn’t planning on committing resources to the project any time soon, and the RFI, generally the first stage in a long procurement process, made it clear that the MTA wanted any potential contractor to install the doors at as little cost as possible to the authority. The reaction though has been stupefyingly loud.

The first person to sound off on the idea was State Senator Diane Savino, and she was unamused. Noting that only .00005 percent of subway riders wind up on the tracks, she criticized the MTA for even thinking about it. Transportation Nation excerpted her statement:

“Much to my surprise the MTA found the notion intriguing. To even contemplate this nonsense is self-evidently a waste of time, effort, energy and yes – money; money the MTA does not have. The cost to install the barriers would be astronomical. The cost to maintain the doors in good operating condition would be even higher,” Savino said.

“Last year eight express bus and eight local bus routes where eliminated or reduced from my district along with the M train downtown extension into Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights, restoration of those routes should be the first discussion instead of spending additional monies on some harebrained notion like this,”

How dare the MTA try to solicit ideas for better service! It’s as though Savino isn’t trying. She clearly didn’t read the Request for Information because had she done so, she would have seen the authority’s intent to spend few dollars on this program.

Savino also doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the MTA’s operating budget and capital budget. The two are funded separately, and money from one cannot be easily shifted from the other. Still, she harps on last year’s operating cuts. “Life is precious and track fires are dangerous,” she said, “but the risks of both are far too minuscule to justify all the expense and effort — especially when most South Brooklynites and Islanders have had their modes of commuting eliminated under auspices of fiscal restraint.”

Of course, what Savino fails to mention is her own role in the cuts. She is leading a splinter group of Senate Democrats who support repealing the payroll tax, and she has consistently voted against congestion pricing measures. She did vote for the measure that robbed $143 million of allegedly dedicated funds from the MTA before saying that she never bothered to read the bill. She has also supported an unnecessary and costly no-layoffs bill. In other words, if the easy political points are there for the grabbing, she’s happy to take them.

But Savino isn’t the only one sounding off. The Daily News’ own editorial page yesterday featured two columns on it, and neither of them were written to sound as though the authors had read the paper’s own news coverage. First, we have an unsigned editorial calling the MTA “crazy” for even considering an “overblown plan” to build doors on the platform. I wonder how many times the Daily News has called someone crazy for asking for information or conducting a due diligence examination.

The editorial, clearly written at the urging of Savino, hits upon the same points she used in her letter to MTA Chair and CEO Jay Walder and even used most of the same language:

Some brainiacs have come up with the idea of erecting barriers along the edges of subway platforms to keep people from falling over. Said barriers would be equipped with sliding portals that would open and close in unison with subway doors,

Stop laughing. We’re not kidding. No, sir. We know this is no joke because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority found the notion intriguing enough to ask other brainiacs to submit even better proposals for adding a touch of Disney World to New York’s underground lair.

Merely to contemplate this nonsense is self-evidently a waste of time and money. The cost to install the barriers would be astronomical. The cost to maintain the doors in good operating condition would be even higher.

The Daily News editorial staff, experts in construction and maintenance costs of underground technological projects has deemed just thinking about it a “self-evident” waste of time and money. If they’re just going to serve as Diane Savino’s uncritical lapdogs, maybe we should appoint them to the MTA Board to see how they run things.

Finally, Joanna Molloy, who has an opinion about everything but seems to know little, sounds off on the project. While noting that CEMUSA paid $1.4 billion to install thousands of bus shelters throughout the city, she scoffs at the idea that the MTA could get the doors built for little or no cost seemingly without offering a reason why. But her crowning moment comes in the condemnation of the plan itself. She doesn’t want it because it’s not gritty enough for her. The logic is dumbfounding.

Sure, you can argue that the sleek, modern doors, which have worked so beautifully along the AirTrain, will save a few dozen lives – and spare the city from some pricey lawsuits. But we’re New Yorkers – we’re tough, and we like grunge and noise. It may be fine for San Francisco, where BART travelers politely form perpendicular lines at the exact spot at which they know the train door will stop. It’s just not us.

New Yorkers have true grit, and nothing gives grittier grit than the subway. We like to brag about the horrors we’ve seen down there. I once saw a 14-inch-long rat munch the last dregs of a hot dog on the tracks of Union Square station. Top that.

Got that? We don’t want clean subway systems that aren’t sweltering saunas in the subway because we’re New Yorkers and we like living and commuting in our own filth. Let’s not try to improve the system or enjoy pleasant commutes because then we wouldn’t be tough. We, like Jeff Bridges in the Coen Brothers’ latest, have true grit. On what planet does Joanna Molloy live anyway?

Now, I don’t know what the future will hold for the MTA’s idea to install doors on some or all of its platforms. In an early incarnation, the new Second Ave. Subway stops were to have these doors, but the authority won’t release SAS station specs for a little while yet. Maybe the MTA can find a contractor like CEMUSA willing to build the doors in exchange for the ad space, and maybe not. Maybe the Request for Information will lead to some results, and maybe the MTA will find that it’s not a feasible project for the New York City subway system.

No matter the outcome, the discourse around it is terrible. The MTA gets ridiculed for engaging in a no-cost effort to find out how to improve the system from politicians who clearly aren’t attuned to the mechanisms that fund the agency and from newspaper editorials that can’t see beyond the current filthy state of our system. This reaction creates a loop in which the MTA gains no public support or trust even as it’s trying to move the system forward, and now, we know why politicians get away with taking dedicated funds out of the MTA’s coffers.

Ultimately, this whole vicious cycle is why we don’t have nice things underground. A no-cost request for basic information to improve conditions underground just should not be met with such ignorant vehemence until dollar figures are attached to a specific proposal. Until the coverage improves and politicians understand what’s happening in transit globally and with the MTA locally, the loop will just keep circling back on itself forever.

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John Paul N. February 4, 2011 - 2:43 am

If Savino rides the subway, she would know that the delays caused by a person on the tracks, track fires, etc. affect much, much, much, much more people than the incidents themselves. If she wants her cut service back, she better work with the MTA in guaranteeing ridership. Start by championing more R service, which most here agree with.

Ha ha, the Daily News plagiarizes. But I’m even more upset with “brainiacs.” Really? Would the editorial board like the MTA to have morons instead? (As if they don’t think that already.)

The maintenance issue is legitimate, but not overblown as opponents say. There is no reason why the company that installs the platform doors can’t be responsible for its upkeep. Besides the varying B-division car widths, curved stations and the ends of platforms may be the biggest logistical challenges. What I’ll miss is the wall coverings of island platforms that will be obscured by the glass.

Edward February 4, 2011 - 4:07 pm

Looks like NYers aren’t the only one’s not paying attention:


paulb February 4, 2011 - 6:16 am

Is it possible Malloy’s screed was an attempt at irony?

She should watch the True Grit references. Remember what Miss True Grit, Mattie Ross, says of Rooster Cogburn’s ways: “Men will live like billy goats if they are given the chance.” It’s not a compliment.

Subutay Musluoglu February 4, 2011 - 7:05 am

Sounds like Joanna Molloy has her cities all mixed up – platform edge doors on BART – really? Where?

Seriously though, even if the up front cost to the MTA is minimal, and even if a private contractor picks up the operations and maintenance costs in exchange for advertising rights, I cannot see how the introduction of platform edge doors in the NYC subway is pulled off without overcoming some significant challenges. It can be achieved from an engineering standpoint, but the process will more than likely be quite disruptive and holds the potential to divert vital internal resources that can be better spent addressing more pressing state of good repair issues.

However laudable the objectives may be, serious questions need to be asked about the efficacy of implementing this technology in a subway system that ranges in age from 70 to 100+ years, where there are unique station configurations over a given distance on any line, which lacks a standardized rolling stock fleet, and most importantly, is governed by a signaling system that is ancient by modern rapid transit standards.

Do not underestimate the level of precision required to stop a train at the desired point at any given station. It requires a complex system architecture where the signaling system, the trains’ propulsion, braking, and door systems, and the platform edge doors are all in complete synergy, with no room for error. As we have all witnessed, we do not necessarily have the best track record (no pun intended) of installing new technology here without years of trial and error.

Consider this – the design, installation, and activation of CBTC on the Canarsie Line has taken over 15 years. I can pull out a schedule of the CBTC rollout schedule from the late 90s that anticipated having the Flushing, Culver, Crosstown, and half of the Queens Boulevard Line complete by the middle of this decade. We will be very lucky if the Flushing Line is done by that point. By the time all the segments of the signaling system that are today beyond a SOGR are replaced with CBTC, we will have to start over on all the lines that were rehabilitated with traditional wayside fixed signaling from the 1960s through the 90s!

Automatic Train Supervision on the IRT is over 5 years behind schedule. And when we will see it on the B Division? Forget it; your guess is as good as any. Why do you think Walder is pushing for lower cost, quicker to implement solutions for providing train location?

You mentioned the Second Avenue Subway specs aren’t out yet. Platform edge doors have already been studied and dismissed at least twice during the last 5 years. Someone has good intentions, and then it’s analyzed and then reality and common sense set in. The issue is shelved. Until someone at the MTA takes a trip abroad and comes back and says hey, why don’t we try that here? And the process starts all over again. These actions and similar examples have contributed in no small measure to the delays of finishing the designs on the expansion projects and other capital program items.

The issue of platform edge doors is a distraction, unaffordable both monetarily and temporally. Focus on what’s needed now. As the MTA’s own new ad campaign says it best – if it’s broken, fix it!

John-2 February 4, 2011 - 8:59 am

As Bloomberg’s obsessions with perephrial issues has shown, the concern isn’t so much the MTA looking at the issue. It’s someone high up in the political food chain suddenly becoming obsessed with the idea of platform doors, and then moving heaven and earth to make their installation a priority over more needed maintenance and improvements on the system, similar to the way pedestrian plazas along Broadway or bans on smoking in city parks have taken precedent in the mayor’s eyes over other less visible quality-of-life issues (and while the mayor doesn’t control the MTA, a future Jay Walder replacement might have his or her priorities skewered towards the non-essential, in the same way 40 years ago that William Ronan was obsessed with painting every carbon steel railcar in the system in the MTA’s new corporate colors while ignoring preventive maintenance because that was more costly and less visible to the riding public).

BrooklynBus February 4, 2011 - 9:30 am

I agree with you that the idea isn’t bad in itself but will be if it becomes an obsession. I wouldn’t fault the MTA for floating the idea but I would like to know why alerted the media? If it was the MTA, that would have been dumb because they should have realized what would have happened. Only the potential contractors should have been notified at this time. There would have been plenty of time to alert the public.

Andrew February 6, 2011 - 10:12 pm

The MTA didn’t alert the media; the media found the RFI on the MTA website.


Ray February 4, 2011 - 7:24 am

The Daily News is for imbeciles.

Phillip February 4, 2011 - 7:49 am

I can’t even read this trash article.

capt subway February 4, 2011 - 9:09 am

The Daily News aside the barriers and doors are just a plain BAD idea. The major reason is that it would seriously compromise service delivery. At least several seconds would be added to the dwell time of each station stop equipped with the doors. This would have an adverse effect on through-put and total running time. Thus you would loss through put where you can least afford it (Lex, Qns Blvd, #7, etc ) and total end to end run time would be increased – which means more trains and crews to operate the same service.

And let’s not forget the huge expense (hundreds of millions) and inconvenience (years of disruptive general orders) to install the doors and the never-ending expense to CONTINUALLY MAINTAIN the doors. And what about all the outdoor stations. How do we protect the doors from freezing up and failing in the snow and ice?

All in all it’s a terrible idea. And to accomplish what? To protect a handful of fools from themselves?

BrooklynBus February 4, 2011 - 9:26 am

I would think that if the MTA does eventually go ahead with this idea, it would only be for a few major midtown stations like Times Square, Grand Central, Union Square and 59th Street. An advantage would also be to regulate temperatures on the platforms. If only a few stations are affected, the additional delays would be negligible. If it goes any further than that, I would call that dumb. Building 2nd Avenue with it would be okay to if the contractor could pay for the upkeep and it doesn’t turn into a boondoggle that they have to be removed after a few years.

Chris February 4, 2011 - 7:09 pm

Actually, it could gradually be done for all underground stations over time. The problem… when could it be done and how much will it cost? Using the main transfer stations (Grand Central, Times Square, 14th St, etc. as a starting point we could gain quick benefits and help bring people into the subways – because they could be made much more comfortable year round. Next, we could deal with the major downtown stations (Fulton St, Chambers St., etc.) + major Brooklyn stations and make the commute to lower Manhattan bore bearable, helping to bring more business back to that area of NYC.

We shouldn’t ignore the possibility of private funding – if ways could be devised for advertisers, etc. to make good money by helping NYC build out this infrastructure. Advertising could pay some of the bills, but not all.

But I am surprised at how much public venom has been spewed over the MTA putting an experimental trial balloon in the sky, trying to see if there was an affordable way to make the subways safer and more comfortable at the same time. Isn’t this what we want our leaders to do? If we shoot them down every time someone tests out an idea, nothing will change, and we’ll have the same ugly and uncomfortable system we’ve had for generations….

BrooklynBus February 6, 2011 - 11:49 am

You are correct. People are very upset with the MTA right now and they read stuff quickly. They see it as a waste of money when there are more pressing matters. They don’t see a difference between operating and capital budgets or the issue of private funding. They just want their train or bus to come now.

sharon February 6, 2011 - 9:55 pm

” MTA’s operating budget and capital budget.”

THe place where the capital budget collides with the operating budget is when the mta needs to pay the money back. That money comes from the operational budget.

Time and time again train operators state they can not see what is on the track when they first enter the station. Why not install sensors along the tracks that train operators that someone is on the track prior to entering the station.

John February 4, 2011 - 9:30 am

I agree. No matter how low the costs hopefully will be, the MTA should have kept this one to themselves for now.

Another thing is they seem to be trying to do a ton of capital projects at once. SAS, countdown clocks, metrocard replacement, bus tracking, etc. There is some value in waiting until one or two of these is done and functioning well before starting another big project. Even if it’s “just” an RFI.

Joe Steindam February 4, 2011 - 10:57 am

I find it hard to fault the MTA for trying to improve the system as much as they can. Obviously no one wanted SAS, ESA or Fulton Street to take as long as they did, but they’re moving forward on reasonable timetables now, or at least ones that haven’t posted any recent delays.

The implementation of new technology is a good thing too, and it has been surprisingly smooth under Walder. Countdown clocks are on half of the A division (I’m truthfully not a fan of the substitutes on the B division, I find the one at Pacific Street Manhattan bound particularly annoying). And the B63 bus tracker looks good, I look forward to seeing it expanded to SI as it’s major pilot test.

I guess the big thing is that for much of the past decade, the MTA failed to deliver and it’s Capital division was to blame for many of the problems, the SAS took years to get off the ground, Fulton Street went nowhere, CBTC took forever on the L and the original countdown clocks went nowhere. But now, there appears to be strong leadership at the MTA, leadership that has success elsewhere delivering upgrades, and has already done a good job delivering here too. I think the public needs to realize that this isn’t the same MTA we had just a few years ago. Can it still improve, absolutely, but it’s still a better agency than what we had not too long ago.

BrooklynBus February 4, 2011 - 9:32 am

You are correct in criticizing Savino. Politicians often go off half-cocked. But I wish you wouldn’t paint everyone who opposed congestion pricing as evil. There were many good reasons to oppose it and it has been debated to death.

Benjamin Kabak February 4, 2011 - 10:10 am

There’s no need to get into the congestion pricing debate again, but my point in highlighting her opposition to that is to show how she has blocked operations revenue-generating measures for the MTA at every turn. Whether or not you support congestion pricing, you can’t deny that she also voted to take money away from the agency without realizing what she was doing until after the fact and has yet to propose an alternative to the payroll tax revenue while supporting a repeal. That’s irresponsible politicking.

BrooklynBus February 6, 2011 - 11:53 am

She even admitted that she didn’t realize what she was voting for. Unfortunately, she isn’t the only one. Most of them don’t read the bills or really know what they are voting for. At least she was honest enough to admit it.

Chris G February 4, 2011 - 9:58 am

I fail to understand how anyone can honestly say adding doors in many of the underground stations would possibly be a bad thing?

How exactly is it going to increase dwell time?

The grit issue, i addressed that in my reply to the original thread. Its stupid and anyone promoting that direction should not be allowed in a position to influence anything.

Costs? Yes. It costs money. But there will be cost savings involved. Increased advertising money. Decreased maintenance costs.

And honestly. How can anyone actually prefer a sauna on the way to work in the summer? Back and forth from sweltering underground stations to A/C cars and back again is not good for anyone’s health.

I am shocked by these comments.

John-2 February 4, 2011 - 10:06 am

If the MTA can do a demo project, say, in the new Hudson Yards station when that opens, with some sort of maintenance-and-operation contract swap with the providing company in exchange for ad revenues, I don’t see any problem with that.

Where the problem could arise is if the MTA ends up shouldering the costs, and if the platform doors become to New York City’s system what the exposed, outdoor escalators are to WMATA — an idea born of the best intentions, but without thinking through the long-term costs of the project, once the moving parts begin to suffer the wear and tear of age.

Anon February 4, 2011 - 10:40 am

seems to me it will also further restrict access to the system which would make it more difficult for homeless to use tunnels as their home and make terrorist access somewhat more difficult.

Joe Steindam February 4, 2011 - 11:04 am

That is certainly one positive. It may even confine rats to the tracks, or even better, deprive them of much of the trash they now live on. The bigger benefit of the screen doors is keeping much of the trash the system generates off the tracks, lessening the risk of track fires.

I guess one of the bigger concerns I see with mass implementation of screen doors, if implemented only underground is the issue with flooding. In rain, it appears that any puddling or flooding on the platforms is meant to drain via the track bed, where there are some drains. Obviously, screens would get in the way of this, and the MTA would need to invest in drains for platforms to eliminate the risk of puddles. Or they can just focus on improving flood prevention in the subways in the first place. Another topic for another time.

Anon February 4, 2011 - 11:13 am

the nature of “glass” (or whatever they make the enclosure out of) …must be shatter proof …in case a bomb does go off.

In which case they may be able to get federal funding (homeland security angle) if a particular type of material is needed.

but pardon my ignorance… I have no idea how shatterproof these enclosures are in other transit properties.

Anon February 4, 2011 - 11:16 am

Re: Mass Implementation.

The structural integrity of the existing platform edges would have to be addressed_____and it ain’t pretty.

pete February 4, 2011 - 1:54 pm

Airtrain style doors will be destroyed pretty quickly. Subway car doors are protected since they are locked closed, or on moving trains. Airtrain doors (supermarket sliding doors) will just be kicked in and the door tracks jammed with dirt or vandalism. Airtrain DOES have a “guard”/”attendant” at EVERY station, so you can’t go kicking the door while your bored waiting for the train. In the NYC subway, since it takes 10 minutes for the cops to show up for a felony, even with cameras, you know nobody will come for vandalism.

Anon February 4, 2011 - 11:09 am

To play devil’s advocate (and pardon the forward thinking here)
Perhaps this would make more sense in about 10 years when OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) are prevalent and state of the art.

The entire glass enclosure (if not selected panels) would be a transparent ad.


I imagine it would be similar to interactive media facade

Kid Twist February 4, 2011 - 11:56 am

Maybe we can wait a few more decades until Star Trek-style force fields are viable.

Anon February 4, 2011 - 12:02 pm

remember 10 years ago CRTs were everywhere and e-ink (now in kindle) was in R&D

Al D February 4, 2011 - 11:27 am

These are etchitti, spititti, fooditti, ever other itti’ed thing magnets in the making. Can you imagine all the fecal matter accumulating on these transparent surfaces? Certainly, the MTA will not employee a new labor classification of window washers to keep these things spic and span.

Kevin February 4, 2011 - 1:03 pm

Maybe they’d also help prevent frivolous lawsuits like these that end up costing the city an insane amount of money anyway:


Donald February 4, 2011 - 1:28 pm

Before spending money on costly doors, how about replacing the 60 year old trans on the C line first?

Benjamin Kabak February 4, 2011 - 1:31 pm

The cars on the C train — which aren’t even 50 years old yet, let alone 60 — will be replaced soon. The replacement order had to be shifted to the R44s instead when structural issues were found.

Also, no one is spending money on glass doors. It’s frustrating that people refuse to listen to that part of the plan here.

Donald February 4, 2011 - 2:04 pm

I was factoring in how old they will be when they are replaced…whch will be over 50.

Donald February 4, 2011 - 1:31 pm

WHy is everyone taking the MTA at their word when they sya that ad revenue will pay for the screen doors? I don’t buy it. We all know that everything the MTA does goes over budget and is plagued with problems. Broken security cameras. Cracked train chasis. The list goes on.

VLM February 4, 2011 - 1:32 pm

Because, Donald, it’s a freakin’ request for information. Do you have any idea what that even means? Your posts strike me as woefully ignorant. No one’s spending any money or proposing any solutions yet. That’s why they’re looking for more information first. It’s due diligence. Everyone does it. Go find some other ghosts to chase instead.

Donald February 4, 2011 - 1:37 pm

Finally, the platform doors requires an exact level of precision in stopping the train. If the train operator does not stop in the exact spot, the train doors and platofrm doors won’t line up. I can certainly see this being a big problem.

Ray February 4, 2011 - 1:38 pm

Obviously, platform doors would be a bit wider than train doors. That’s how they do it in many other countries and it works perfectly fine without increasing dwell time.

BBnet3000 February 4, 2011 - 1:53 pm

I sort of assumed that adding platform edge doors, at least if they did it at anything but the largest stations, would be done when the trains are automated.

Yeah I said when, not if.

Joe Steindam February 4, 2011 - 2:07 pm

I would think automated trains would be a requirement before screen doors could go anywhere. Maybe I’m wrong and it can be done without automation. That is the purpose of the RFI, so we can gain the facts about what is necessary for screen doors. And again, the MTA has not put out any money so far, and if it comes to implementation, the MTA hopes to spend as little as possible. So for god sakes, what is the point of getting irritated now, wait until the result of the RFI, which might get no bites, before you fly off the handle.

Alon Levy February 4, 2011 - 5:38 pm

You are wrong. See Shanghai Lines 1-2, Singapore’s North-South and East-West lines, and probably a lot more of the newer lines I can’t remember right now.

However, all of those systems require technology allowing the train to stop at precise locations. It doesn’t require automation, but it requires more than the MTA currently uses. So the capital cost is nontrivial. I think the buzzword is ATC – automatic train control – but I could be wrong.

Donald February 4, 2011 - 2:08 pm

Automated trains are many many years away and before that can happen, billions need to be spent to upgrade existing trains, tracks, and signals. Also, the MTA is not yet capable of automating train lines in which more than one line uses the same track. The reaosn they are only talking about the L and 7 lines is because they don’t share their tracks with other lines.

When my father first started with the MTA as a condcutor there was a a lot of talk about automating trains. This was in 1971.

Joe Steindam February 4, 2011 - 2:47 pm

We know automated trains are years off. And for the moment, so are platform screen doors. So please calm down already.

Alon Levy February 4, 2011 - 5:36 pm

The Shuttle was automated in the 1950s.

And there’s a huge difference between experimenting on a line that doesn’t share tracks in order to limit the possible damage if things go wrong, and not being able to roll out the technology systemwide.

Donald February 4, 2011 - 7:07 pm

And after the train caught on fire, no serious attempts were made to automate for roughly 50 years. There were some serious attempts around 2002 or so, but after an automated train in Washington D.C. rolled backwards and smashed into a train behind it in 2004, the union was sucessful at grinding the project to a halt. In fact, I specifically remember the TWU using a picture of the crash in most of their anti-automation publications.

And now many people are again questioning the safety of automated trains since in 2009, yet aother automated train in D.C. crashed. This time 9 people were killed.

Donald February 4, 2011 - 7:17 pm

Then there is the fact that the automated CBTC system on the L has bene plagued with problems, resulting in delays and trains taken out of service. Train operators on the L hate it. Some of them will tell you that CBTC should stand for “Catch Bus To Canarsie”

Alon Levy February 4, 2011 - 7:33 pm

The train didn’t catch fire because of automation. I know that the fire led to a lot of FUD about automation, but technically it wasn’t a problem.

DC just doesn’t do maintenance. Its fires are no more a blemish on automation than Veolia’s crashes are a blemish on the lack of automation.

nycpat February 5, 2011 - 12:20 am

The dispatchers office caught on fire and it spread to tracks 3 and 4, the platforms were wooden, destroying the trains laid up there. Only 4 track was automated. It only ran during rush hours.
No it wasn’t sabotage.

Alon Levy February 5, 2011 - 12:57 am

I know it wasn’t sabotage. What I’m saying is that it wasn’t automation, either, so technically the experiment with driverless trains succeeded.

DMIJohn February 4, 2011 - 2:03 pm

Good points, Ben.

Henry February 5, 2011 - 2:08 pm

Just curious, the MTA uses cars on different lengths at the same platforms. If a shorter train pulls up to the platform, how do they stop all the platform doors from opening?

Eric February 5, 2011 - 3:49 pm

Not quite sure how it works, but Line 8 on the Shanghai Metro runs trains of different lengths in conjunction with platform screen doors without a problem. The last few sets of doors remain closed when a shorter train is in the station.

Also, when I was living there, the trains rarely lined up EXACTLY with the platform doors, which is why there was usually leeway of about a foot on either side. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7.....874534372/)

Sometimes trains would completely overshoot the doors and have to backtrack a few feet. I can’t be sure of this, but I think it’s safe to say the trains in NYC stop with enough accuracy to line up with the doors reasonably well.

Bolwerk February 6, 2011 - 4:25 pm

On what planet does Joanna Molloy live anyway?

Well, she is a gossip columnist, afterall! She lives in a world of prissy white entitlement, where she deigns to reach down from her comfie “middle class”* position to help the poor finance their transit use. Hell, that’s exactly the idea she wants to propagate: the others are getting money spent on them for useless perks, while our roads, bridges, and subdivisions crumble. You can find this attitude in probably most of the criticism of the MTA that makes it into the press. Aging signaling systems, OPTO, time keeping, fare collection, and track clearance are all problems, but they aren’t really fun to think about for people with IQs of 80 who become newspaper columnists.

* As if she’s middle class in the way someone in Maspeth is, if at all, or the middle class could afford daily parking rates in any NYC neighborhood.

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[…] doors. As I noted a few weeks ago, critics who blasted the MTA’s Request for Informatino were barking up the wrong tree, and Donohue, who notes that at least one company — Crown Infrastructure — is […]

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[…] platform doors (as long as they didn’t have to pay much), and everyone and their uncles grossly overreacted. Now with, in the words of The Daily News, “terrifying” accidents taking a “sharp […]


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