New York City‘s subway system is set to test a new style of train for action by 2020 according to a New York Times article. In cities such as Paris and Toronto, subway riders are welcome to move between cars during transit without having to pass through doors or exit the car itself, and NYC plans on following the trend – or at least testing the waters. Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has ordered ten ‘open gangway’ style cars that are connected without interruption – flowing cabins without doors or space between cars.
As it stands, it is technically illegal to pass between New York City subway cars while the train is in motion and, though this seldom discourages the experienced traveler, is considered dangerous and disruptive. To properly switch cars, one must wait until the train is halted and dart to the next car via the subway platform.
The new style of car will in theory remedy many ailments such as overcrowding and the ‘bump and go traffic’ of people departing and boarding cars. For instance, with all the cars connected, passengers can board the same car and easily disperse along the line. Gone would be the days of everyone trying to pass through the same three doors to exit a crowded cabin or load into the most convenient car. With riders more easily dispersed and more evenly portioned, the trains should run a smoother schedule. The cars will also have an increased capacity.
Other advances have been mentioned, such as digital screens and charging stations for portable devices. Time will tell whether or not New Yorkers are ready for such nice things. I can already see the shaking iPhone video featuring late night drunkards fist-fighting over whose phone has the least amount of charge.
However, these cars do not come cheap. One ten car train will cost the city $52.4 million so the city will be testing one train to determine if it’s worth the price tag. “These are subway cars that will be running in our system for the next 30 or 40 years, conceivably.” says Kevin Ortiz of the MTA,“We want to take our time and do our due diligence with the design of these cars.”
There are some concerns about how riders will accept the new style. For one, smoke or other unpleasant air-borne contaminate can easily travel through several cars rather than be contained in just one. Another concern raised would be the increased ease of peddlers and vendors to disturb riders.
Those who have raised concern are still in favor of testing the new trains to see how they go over. Along with other progressive ideas, they seem like a logical step in the right direction while creating a more unified transit experience.