Monday, June 02, 2008

What's with all the broken doors?

At different hours of the day through the last few weeks, I've been encountering more and more broken train doors that remain shut. They have these stickers that are marked broken, but you can't really seen them from the outside, hence, most people just wait lamely for it to open as other passengers have already boarded the train through other doors, and suddenly, these people realize the doors are broken and have to dash like mad for one of the doors nearby. Sometimes they make it, sometimes they don't.

Once I even saw 3 doors in a row that were broken, making the passengers in line dash quite a few yards down just to find a way into the train.

Not to mention the pain this causes on the way out of the trains too. Despite crowded conditions, you need to say "excuse me", "excuse me", "coming through", as you push yourself through the aisles from train to train to find a door that actually works!

What are these doors broken and left unfixed? Or are doors being fixed daily but new ones break just as quickly?

All I know is...I've seen an increase in broken and unopened doors!


Anonymous said...

I find the broken door issue very concering. I think it could even be a code violation. If fire doors are not usable then it's a danger to the occupants of a building. BART is a tiny movable entity. How can it's doors not operate and it still be able to function without some code not being violated?

Anonymous said...

There are various reasons why a door is out of service and stickered. The door might not be broken, usually they are not. If a train ends up with a program stop failure and stops say one car out, those doors on the platform side will be locked out. The train operator usually unlocks them before departing, but could depart with them locked out if instructed, where they would be unlocked down line.

If a car has a leaning problem, doors could be cut out as well because now the car becomes a tripping hazard.

If the train has an inverter problem, there might not be enough battery power, so the car could be cut out and the doors locked out too.

Well if no doors in a car are functioning, then the circuit breaker will be dropped (lights off) and the inner car closure doors COULD be stickered out of service.

In all the above cases the doors are not broken. Is it a hazard if a set (2 door panels) are locked out in one car? Eh, I am sure it can be argued either way. I will agree it is not easy to read those neon green signs from outside a car who has their doors locked out.

Anonymous said...

With Hayward Yard out of service, there are fewer resources to maintain cars. As mentioned, there are basically four reasons for doors to be locked out.

Program stop failure
Inverter problem
Air problem
Broken door

A good train operator can catch a program stop failure on a 9 (or smaller) car train. 10 cars takes alertness and experience. It takes time to lock out the doors, and more time to unlock them. So, they don't get unlocked until the end of the line, or maybe MacArthur or 12th Street. Many of the commute trains have newer operators, who don't have the experience to catch the program stop failures, especially along Market Street.

A car with a bad inverter will stay in service, until the end of commute. Unless there's no room for it in the yard. Then it will hang around another day.

A bad air car will be low, which is a tripping hazard, but it will also stay in service. Unless it's a leaner, which will scrape a station platform. Then it will be taken out of service.

On all these cars, the doors are still good, just there isn't enough power to run them, or time to cut them back in, etc.

Some doors are actually broken, either by something in the door trackway (litter) or by a passenger breaking them - by putting a bicycle in the way, or by holding them for other latecomers. Most door problems happen at half a dozen stations, the TO's know this, so they try to get the doors closed quickly at these stations. Rarely will you see courtesy doors at these stations. It's too risky - once the doors are closed, he won't take a chance.