It’ll likely take hundreds of millions of dollars and decades to accomplish for an already cash-strapped agency, but the idea of installing platform edge sliding doors in all of the city’s 468 subway stations was being embraced by transit advocates yesterday.
“If it would reduce the possibility of injury or death and make tracks cleaner, it’s hard to be against it, but do they have the money to do it?” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.
The MTA said that it has asked companies to submit details on a system, but has not sought bids on a plan. A spokesman said it’s too early to say the extent of a potential project.
Already, the sliding doors are used on the Kennedy Airport AirTrain as well as in parts of the Beijing and Paris subway systems. Meanwhile, Toronto is planning to eventually outfit them in its 69 subway stations at $5 million a pop.
Toronto Transit Commission spokesman Brad Ross said that while the doors would protect people from falling or jumping onto the tracks, they also speed up train travel by preventing door jams and keeping trash off the tracks.
However, the project is costly and time-consuming. Toronto needs to spend $800 million on its busiest subway line, Yonge-University-Spadina, to equip it with automatic train control to guide the trains to perfectly align with door openings at stations. It could also take up to five years for the first Toronto stations to get the doors, Ross said.