Mind the Doors! (Updated)

In today’s Metro, Ed Drass writes about the problem of subway car doors closing before people have a chance to get on and off. (The article is not yet online except in the full PDF version of the paper.)

Updated: This item has been clarified to show that Ed is paraphrasing the TTC’s remarks rather than directly quoting them. My apologies if the earlier version of this piece misrepresented the situation.
Drass paraphrases the TTC as saying:

… the TTC has not changed its policy, but ridership has definitely grown across the system. Train guards are given about 15 seconds at each station, typically opening the doors for shorter periods at quiet stops and longer at busy ones.

When asked why trains wouldn’t take longer at busy stations, the TTC replies:

If you extend it too long you’re going to develop gaps in your service.

Drass notes that the TTC has asked for help with expanding capacity on the subway, but it is unclear from his article whether this is his own comment or a paraphrase from the TTC itself. Such relief, in the form of new trains and signal systems, won’t be here for years and only affects the Yonge line.

Moreover, they won’t address problems with jackrabbit behaviour at stations. Although the TTC worries about keeping the service properly spaced, the signal system (anqituated though it may be) does that today unless, of course, the service is late. Like other TTC systems, it focuses on schedule maintenance, not headways. When trains are late, operators are free to make as brief stops as possible in an attempt to get back on time again.

There is no excuse for ultra-brief station stops, trapping people in trains before they can get off, or catching people in the doors. All have happened to me, and not during the peak of the rush hour when we can blame the problem on rising demand.

Once again, the TTC needs to get its own house in order before blaming those pesky passengers who insist on getting on and off the trains for their problems.