Following weeks of certifying operators to use Automatic Door Operation on some Red Line trains, the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) has given concurrence to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to allow the agency to fully operate in Auto Door mode on the Red Line, beginning Dec. 5.
According to WMATA, customers will notice faster entries and exits on Red Line trains, causing doors to open within 3-5 seconds after the train stops on the station platform. The time saved per stop is around 10-15 seconds.
While train doors will open automatically, WMATA says operators will still close train doors manually. Auto Doors are controlled by technology already onboard trains that “ensures trains are safely stopped at the platform before the doors open.” Before departing, operators will close the doors manually after checking outside the driver’s side cab window to ensure all customers have cleared the platform.
The restoration of Auto Doors on the Red Line is possible after the agency safely tested more than 2,500 automatic door-opening exercises. Additionally, Red Line train operators have completed additional training and certification to operate trains in Auto Doors mode.
While the Red Line is the first to reinstate Auto Doors, WMATA says other lines could see Auto Doors in the future. The agency is currently testing Auto Doors on the Blue, Orange, Silver, Green and Yellow lines, and will continue to work closely with the WMSC to implement Auto Doors systemwide.
Upgrading and restoring the technology for Auto Doors, WMATA says, will enable the agency to safely automate 20,000 daily door openings systemwide.
“Auto Doors will allow customers to exit trains faster to catch a connecting train or bus, or quickly reach escalators and elevators to leave the station and be on their way,” said WMATA General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke. “In addition to the convenience customers will experience, Auto Doors is also safer, reducing the opportunity for human error and wrong-side door openings.”