Metro Retreats Silently from Automatic Door Opening

photoWMATA photo

With much fanfare, Metro announced just a few weeks ago that on July 7, doors would begin opening automatically once again on Red Line trains. But after just two days, doors were being operated manually, WTOP reported.

Why?

Well, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says the doors were opening just fine. But they were then closing automatically, which had not been the plan. Metro thought it had the doors set to open by themselves but to close only when the train operator determined that riders were safely out of the way.

Wiedefeld said there may be a simple software fix but for now, operators will close the doors manually.

Doors used to open automatically and trains even ran without much operator intervention but after a series of accidents, including the June 2009 crash that killed eight passengers and injured 80 others, trains were put on manual operation, which may be safer but is slower than automatic operation.

Public not informed

The plans to return to automatic door openings was announced in an ebullient press release heralding the “milestone” change that Metro said would result in a “quicker commute” for Red Line riders.

But after it was discovered that the doors weren’t operating as expected, Metro returned to manual operation Tuesday night without informing the public.

 

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.