And here's why you should never lean against subway doors

Doors open on the wrong side on the Red Line

Nick Barber noticed the open doors on the wrong side of the train at Kendall Square around 7:20 a.m.



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You know you're in trouble when even MIT students can't fix the Kendall Band...

orange line, too

About two weeks ago, October 18, on the inbound train on the Orange Line there was a door locked in an open position at the end of a car between cars. Fortunately it was a warm day.

on the NYCMTA

end doors between cars were commonly left unlocked up until the 1990s or early 2000s. You weren't supposed to walk between cars, but people commonly did, whether it was to avoid individuals engaging in threatening or harassing or unpleasant behavior, or just to get more space for themselves.

End doors are still left unlocked on 1 trains, because the platform at South Ferry is too short to accommodate all cars on the train. Passengers need to move forward through the train to exit.

Of course, the fact that most older NYCMTA cars did not have full-width cabs helped. All MBTA heavy-rail subway cars have full-width cabs.

South Ferry

Is that still true? I thought NYCTA had built a longer, new South Ferry platform in the past few years.


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They did, opened in 2009. And then Sandy pretty much destroyed it three years later.

I think most end doors are

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I think most end doors are still unlocked. My last couple trips on the subway (1-2 years ago) I rode the A/C/E and the 3, and on both trains I witnessed many people passing through between cars.

Not just walk from one car to

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Not just walk from one car to the next: some of us would ride between the cars, on very crowded trains or to enjoy a nice day when riding on an elevated line. (This was probably stupid. I was 14.)

End doors are unlocked on all

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End doors are unlocked on all NYC trains except those with 75-foot cars, because they serve as an emergency exit. The long cars have doors that can be unlocked remotely by the conductor in an emergency. A few years ago it became illegal to pass between cars (and they do write tickets for it).

South Ferry has nothing to do with it. You can't pass from the back half of the train to the front half, because there's a full-width cab in the middle. You have to walk up the platform at the previous stop.

Amateur Hour

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This is why conductors in NY are trained to manually point at a target (ON THE CORRECT SIDE) before opening doors.

When passengers are dropped onto a live third rail, or into the path of an oncoming train, it's a pretty serious problem.

Those doors will be properly

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Those doors will be properly secured if the car should start to fill with smoke. All for our safety of course.

This should not happen

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The door controls for each side of the train are located on that side of the cab. This way the operator opening the door has to manually go to that side of the cab to open the doors, a relatively good failsafe if properly obeyed. Basically, if you open the window and point to the board, the doors should not open. They also shouldn't open in motion, since there should be electronic interlocks which prevent this.

(More on SOP in NYC mentioned upthread: this video, this Gothamist piece and the original Reddit AMA.

Of course, we know how well all that works.

This appears to be some fault in the door that it opened, especially since the driver sits on the right so at Kendall they'd have had to move across the cab to open the doors on the wrong side. I'd be interested to know if it stayed open as the train moved. If that was the case, there's something seriously wrong and it's worth running to the end of the car, pressing the button to talk to the operator, and telling them a door on the wrong side is open. Or, have another passenger block the doors and go to the end of the train and tell the operator. Make sure the train doesn't leave the station. The operator can generally lock the door manually and perhaps even close the car, and then make a call to 45 High Street to make sure the train is taken out of service at Alewife (or perhaps immediately).

My friend who uses a

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My friend who uses a wheelchair, was sitting right next to the door, when this happened on the green line above ground.


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When the trains are really packed, and you are positioned next to the door, it's hard not lean on it a little. Seeing this picture is a real eye opener, though. How often does this happen?

I've been riding the T 5 days

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I've been riding the T 5 days a week for 20 years and have never once seen a door open on the wrong side. One time, early on a weekend morning, I got on a Red Line train at Davis and noticed that the door at the end of the car was open, but the train didn't even leave the station before the driver realized something was wrong and came to shut it. It's possible it had been like that since the train started out at Alewife, but that was it.