“Sorry for the Uncomfortable Commute,” MBTA Says to Passengers Who Almost Fell Out Train Door
Train riders were treated to a very breezy commute thanks to an open door.
Some of us have enough trouble staying upright on a Green Line trolley creeping through Government Center. Now imagine trying to keep your balance on a full speed Commuter Rail train as frigid evening air rushes by from a wide open door right next to you.
Yes, this was the case for a handful of commuters on an evening Middleborough/Lakeville train Tuesday. Because the after-work train was packed, several travelers were stuck standing in the vestibule of the train when—oopsie!—a door popped open and remained ajar as the train made its way down the tracks at full speed. Passengers were left to helplessly “hold on for their lives” as the outside world zoomed by.
You kind of have to see it to believe it. Fortunately, one intrepid commuter (whose display name now feels particularly apt) bravely sacrificed one pole-gripping hand to take a phone video and tweet it out.
“On the Middleboro train, door wide open tracing at full speed,” he wrote. “No conductors in sight and passengers holding on to rail trying not to fall out.”
@MBTA_CR @mbta @7News @marty_walsh on the Middleboro train, door wide open tracing at full speed. No conductors in sight and passengers holding on to rail trying not to fall out pic.twitter.com/qYRQJLA8tD
— where are all the adults (@ken_shackleton) November 12, 2019
According to an interview the passenger did with 7 News last night, the train’s door closed at the platform, but it seems that it didn’t latch. It would have stayed agape for his entire 30-minute ride to Brockton if not for one of his fellow commuters. “A gentleman held the door closed while we were traveling,” the passenger explained. “He lost his grip a couple times where the door would open and he’d have to push it closed again so no one would fall out.”
Minutes after the video was posted to Twitter, the Commuter Rail account responded, saying that the video was going to be passed along to management. However, another passenger replied 45 minutes later, saying that the problem still hadn’t been addressed. Eventually, the Commuter Rail tweeted an apology to the original poster.
Thanks for the additional info Ken. We’ve escalated this concern to be addressed as safety is very important to us. Sorry for the uncomfortable commute and have a good evening. ^DD
— MBTA Commuter Rail (@MBTA_CR) November 12, 2019
This response kind of makes it sound like commuters were complaining about the ergonomics of the handholds or the passé upholstery pattern on the seats rather than the potentially disastrous failure of a safety mechanism, but sure. That’s nice.
Anyway, according to a spokesperson for Keolis, the company that operates the commuter rail, the incident remains under investigation. An initial inspection by the crew onboard, though, suggested no issue with the door’s automated open and close function, which is either reassuring or disturbing and mysterious, depending on how you look at it. The lesson is, though, that if you’re riding the commuter rail home tonight, bundle up, secure all your loose items, and generally make yourself as non-aerodynamic as possible. Or, maybe just shove your way into the train a little harder to avoid that spot by the door, just in case.