'Don't hold the doors': OC Transpo boss John Manconi says train doors will stay open longer

OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi is asking LRT riders not to touch train doors.

OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi is asking LRT passengers to leave train doors alone. 

“Don’t hold the doors,” Manconi told journalists in an update after a morning of major delays.

But he says the transit company will make some changes, like keeping doors open longer, to help ease some of the issues in the new system.

Manconi says he understands rider frustration and is offering his “sincerest apologies”.

And while he’s not “blaming or criticizing customers” he says the issues on Wednesday when two open doors brought the entire system to a halt, were due to riders prying open the doors.

The first, he said, was due to a customer running down the stairs at the Lyon Station trying to catch the train.  He says that customer pried the train door open which then jammed it into an open position.  Another rider used two hands to hold the doors open at Parliament Station.

Manconi says the system stopped because of four safety features, that sense something in the door, to prevent a “door drag” which is someone who gets caught in the door before the train takes off,

“That has occurred around the world, we do not want that to occur here.”

He says when the sensors are tripped, the doors automatically open,

“If the door tries to close three times and is unable to, it goes into an open state.”

On Wednesday, at Lyon Station, the train was stopped on the tracks with passengers onside for more than 17 minutes.

Manconi says “well intentioned” train technicians and operators then tried to repair the problems themselves.  He’s now asking them not to, because that, he says, can cause even more delays.

“We are now instructing all technicians and operators to immediately put train back in service as soon as a door is isolated, and if that is not possible, they are to bypass the doors… and ask passengers to exit.”

Manconi says OC Transpo plans to implement a number of measures in hopes of avoiding future door issues:

  • Adjusting the length of time doors will stay open, especially at uOttawa & Parliament Stations
  • Asking Alstom to investigate all door issues
  • Review all door settings
  • Deploy more OC Transpo customer service representatives to platforms to help educate riders on train etiquette and boarding tips
  • Markings will be installed on platforms to help assist passengers with loading and unloading

Manconi is also asking passengers to follow some rules when boarding:

  • Use all 14 doors for entering and exiting the train
  • Heed the warning system both the audible and the visual
  • Don’t congregate around doors on the train or on the platforms
  • Prepare in advance before you disembark the train
  • Stand to one side of the door to let passengers get off before you board
  • Don’t run for the train
  • Don’t hold on to doors
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