August 10, 2015

MBTA Train Doors

The MBTA commuter rail is looking to improve their image after the dabocile service this past winter. Here's one way they can make a difference without having to spend thousands of dollars and will make taking the train a bit easier for everyone.

The Problem

Every morning thousands of Massachusetts commuters, from Lowell to Providence, RI, line up to take the morning train to Boston. Everyone is playing the guessing game of, what's my commute going to be like today.

Many of the commuters stand by the platform hoping that they are standing where they think the conductor opens the doors.  Many riders are disappointed when the train arrives and finds out that their are only 2 conductors, or its a shorter train for their time, and people have to run to the nearest available door.

Potential Solution

I understand that it doesn't make sense to announce conductor train coverage over various social media channels since it may prevent people from seeing more important information. One way to solve this problem is to have a numerical indicator as the train arrives that the train only has 2 conductors, regular commuters can change where they are standing and move to the front or rear of the train.

A more practical solution would be to put a 'star' indicator on the door window if that door will be open when the train stops. This also could serve as a benefit to those on the train that are looking to get off, they will know that it is an active door. There has been many times when I am standing by a door, and someone will ask if it's a door a conductor will open.

I believe having a universal symbol letting people know which door will be open at stops, can make taking the commuter rail stress free. It should also help those that don't take the train everyday understand the process.

Every morning commuters get a fresh first impression of the MBTA commuter rail, it would be good if the MBTA did something to help start the day off right. Until then, we'll all just hope that we are standing in the right place.


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