The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) announced that customers may notice doors opening faster on some Red Line trains when they stop at stations, as the agency will begin certifying operators who have been trained to use Metro’s Auto Doors function.
The feature enables doors to open automatically when the train stops at the platform.
How Auto Doors Changes WMATA Operations
Currently, operators are required to open and close train doors manually. They’re instructed to stick their head out the window, take a few seconds to verify they are opening the doors on the correct side of the train, and then press a button to open the doors. The process can take up to 15 seconds and happens more than 20,000 times a day across the system.
With Auto Doors, signals at the platform tell the train which side to open automatically when it arrives at each station platform. Operators will still put their heads out of the window to make sure everyone has exited or boarded before manually closing the doors.
“Using Auto Doors eliminates human error from the process of operating our train doors, meaning a safer, smoother trip,” Brian Dwyer COO said. “Anyone who uses Metrorail has experienced the wait, standing at the door wondering when the doors will open. Our customers tell us they want Auto Doors back and this change will improve customer experience and safety.”
Metro has been testing Auto Doors during off-hours for months and the system performed without any safety issues more than 2,500 times. Metro worked with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission to move forward with this step in its automation program.