Forcing open a Muni train door is, at worst, obnoxious. A sad sack blocks a door from closing. Loud screeching erupts from above. Righteous passenger shaming ensues. But when a BART door gets forced open, the consequences are far more grave.
So much so that BART took to Twitter today to remind riders why they should never block or pry open train doors. Behold:
Good reminder: Forcing open a BART car door can have a far-reaching impact. In this recent case, not only was the train delayed 10 minutes but an addition 12 trains were delayed 5 to 13 minutes and we had to cancel a train dispatch. pic.twitter.com/zDJKq6xkR8— SFBART (@SFBART) July 9, 2018
Forcing open BART doors can also result in trains being taken out of service entirely. But why?
“It has a lot to do with design,” says BART spokesperson Chris Filippi. “The legacy fleet has pocket doors, which are doors that slide into a pocket built into the car walls on either side of the doors. Passengers who block the doors have learned that, once blocked, the doors can be pushed back into the pockets. Unfortunately, many unruly passengers kick the doors into the pockets where they can come off the track and get jammed. When this happens, the train cannot move.”
Frustrating, indeed. However, the new batch of BART cars won’t suffer the same snafus.
Filippi adds: “The fleet of the future cars will use a different door design, known as micro-plug doors. Similar to plug doors on buses but with far less motion, these doors will open up to the outside of the car. As such, they cannot be jammed out of reach, inside a wall pocket, but are always accessible.”
In June alone, BART had a total of 116 trains that were delayed due to what the agency calls “door vandalism.”
“Our overall on-time performance has been on the rise (approaching 94%) so spreading the word about doors is a way we can continue that positive momentum,” notes Filippi. “Most door delays are completely avoidable.”