Metro works to address train door problem

WASHINGTON – Metro riders have experienced a scary scenario recently — doors opening when they should not.

The latest incident happened earlier this month on the Green Line, when a train’s doors opened toward the tracks instead of the platform at L’Enfant Plaza.

It was apparently because of operator error, an issue Metro says it is dealing with.

“Training of the employees is critical,” says Mortimer Downey, chairman of Metro’s Safety Committee. “We (have to) keep in the forefront of their thinking, ‘What’s going on? Which door should I open? When should I open it?'”

An operator was suspended for opening doors onto an open track in July 2012. In May 2012, mechanical problems caused doors to open while a train was in motion.

As a result of the recent Green Line incident, Metro has told all operators to pause for a moment after pulling into stations.

“We all now stand on the platform and wish the door would open, but that little three- or four-second delay is what’s giving the employee time to look around and be sure they’re doing the right thing,” Downey says.

He says the human error problem could be resolved with a return to automation, which was suspended after the 2009 Red Line crash.

“(Computers) hopefully would make the right decision every time, every place,” he says.

WTOP’s John Aaron contributed to this story. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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