Not re-opening doors

I hear every once in a while people complain about the operator not re-openign doors fro them when the operator saw them. Well being a operator let me expalin this. once the doors start closing they received teh commad todo so about 3 or 4 seconds prior. and to re open them the operator has to take train out of automatic, at that point anything that happens falls in the operators lap cause he does not have the prtotection he does in automatic. Sp please dont curse the operator out but please try to be on time in the future

Passengers technically only get one door cycle. IF the operator chooses to be nice and re-open the doors, that's called a COURTESY door cycle, which is just that. A COURTESY. The operator IS NOT required or obligated to open doors a second time for anyone. So I'm gonna give some tips to BART commuters regarding this issue.

If you miss the door cycle, YOU WERE LATE. Your fault. Actually, you're not late, you're just early for the next one. Look at it like that.

If you miss the door cycle, don't jump up and down, kick the train, spit on the train, wave your arms frantically, give a 1-fingered salute, or yell and scream at the operator. I've been at BART a while, and trust me. Doing that does not make the doors re-open. All you just did is provided the operator with a good laugh as he/she moves on to the next station, and justified his/her decision not to re-open doors for you with your behavior.

IF you are fortunate to receive a courtesy door cycle, at least have the common courtesy back to acknowledge the operator with a thank you, and appreciate the gesture. By re-opening the doors, the operator is making the train late and holding everyone else up for YOU. It irritates me when I decide to be nice to a passenger and re-open doors, and they just walk on the train like getting that 2nd door cycle was their right. Makes us reluctant to do that for other passengers.

That concludes the commuter tip for the day.

well, i for one, deeply appreciate the time or two that has been done for me. most of time they just look at you and take off.

Don't kid yourself TO, if it were not for all of us People that are occasionally late, you wouldn't have a job driving the train. Make every effort to re-open those door, or people might stop taking bart, and you'll have to find a new gig.

Wow. That has to be one of the dumbest and most inaccurate statements I've read on here in a few days. What you just said will NEVER happen.

I honestly can't believe that you had the audacity to post that nonsense. At least I got my morning started with a good laugh though thanks to you.

BART runs trains at least every 15 minutes on weekdays, during commute times, just for the people who are "occasionally late." =)

If BART starts holding up trains for every person who gets up to the platform late (and then again for the person who runs up right after the doors close for the first person. And what about the 3rd guy who runs up the stairs, flailing his arms saying "wait! open the doors!") it could really delay things. The schedules of the trains are fine tuned so that, ideally, there is a smooth flow of train traffic on the tracks. Get enough trains running one or two minutes behind, because they always open the doors for the late people, and you'll likely make EVERY train on that line (if not the system) delayed as well.

It's completely absurd to hold up an entire train full of people because ONE person couldn't leave their house 5 minutes earlier. Should they hold up the first pitch of the baseball game until every ticket holder has arrived? Should the delay starting the movie in the theater until the guy buying popcorn has gotten his treats, and found a seat?

I'm guilty of showing up late for my train by mere seconds... quite frequently in fact. Occasionally the TO will open the doors for me, but I never expect it, or get angry when they don't. And the vast majority of the time I'm standing on the platform, waiting for the next train. But, I appreciate it when my train arrives at my destination on time, because the TO doesn't hold the doors open for every Tom Dick and Harry who couldn't be bothered to get there a little sooner.

BARTBabe, you're good........

Do you kow how many times I've heard "If isnt wasnt for me you would'nt have a job" or the one I love is " I pay your salary" my response is well if you pay my salary I want a raise for having to deal with people like you. This is my first time I've been on this site I am a station agent I've been with Bart for about 10 years. I think this site is pretty good like what I've read so far but this post just caught me eye and couldnt resist.

If the guy who makes my train late every morning cuz he won't get outta the elevator till the train door are open decides not to ride Bart anymore....I'm cool with that. Who can I pay to get the doors closed faster?

Obviously, BART runs on a schedule. In the "city", meaning San Fran, Oakland and Berkeley, BART is a "Subway". That means it moves as many people as fast as it can. Outside the city, it is a "commuter railroad". Which means it tries to stick to a schedule. Once your train gets to West Oakland, or, coming from the other direction, to Daly City, it "gets in line" and tries to keep moving. It's no longer a "commuter train", it's a "subway".

Most train operators know what part of their run has a lot of slack, and what part is critical. And, they have a feel for where they can allow more time for passengers. For example, Dublin will often split a train in half, when the ridership is lower midday. So, the "half" (4 cars) is all the way down the end of the platform, and the passengers have to walk at least a hundred feet to get to just the last car. Drivers allow an extra minute, for you to walk. Since it's midday, they'll save ten seconds, each, at the next six stations (fewer riders). Richmond to MacArthur is a tight run. If you sit behind the driver, you can hear the beeps, every second, when the computer is telling the driver to close the doors. The driver only has thirty of these "silver bullets", for the whole run (six stations). He'll usually spend 25 at Del Norte, to give you bus commuters some slack for your late bus, and the other five he spends at Berkeley, which is just plain busy. Basically, courtesy doors would delay your train, and a dozen others.

Once you get into the "core", the system is very fragile. I like what I do, so I work all over the system. Once, I left Fremont, at 6:02 PM. When I got to Bayfair, I had to wait for the train from Dublin, which should have gotten there at 6:15, so I could get behind him, and get to Bayfair at 6:19. I wondered what made him late, but the next day I was assigned to that train! When I boarded up at Dublin, I was supposed to leave at 5:59 PM, but left a couple minutes late, since the train arrived a minute late (and takes a few minutes to empty out). But, I knew the driver who brought it in, and he is a reliable, quick operator, so I knew it wasn't him.

A week later, I had a Fremont to Daly City train, that made that Dublin train late. And the reason it was late was because of a Pittsburg train that was late. And, six months earlier, I remembered that Pittsburg train, since I had it! It was late for a reason! The point is that the whole system, at commute time, in the city, is quite sensitive. Courtesy doors are rare, and disrupt many!

Here's the good news. Late at night, weekends, and (sometimes) midday, there is a lot of slack in the system. My attitude is a happy weekend rider could turn into a regular weekday rider. Most of us are more than happy to open the doors, when we know the next train is 20 minutes away. We know you are unfamiliar with the system, so you don't know where to stand, etc. If we see a "kitty" (a WestCAT bus) pull up to Del Norte, or the AirBART at Coliseum, or Caltrain come in to Millbrae, or even the informal meets at Bayfair for Fremont-to-Dublin, we'll wait a bit. At some stations (like Pittsburg), we can see the elevator moving, so we know someoone is coming. At others, we can see reflections off the walls of the escalators, and spot latecomers.

As mentioned, it takes about nine seconds for the doors to close, so it is possible for someone to run down the stairs and "leap" on , and the operator can't interrupt the door closing cycle. An additional factor is that the door cycle is automatic and pretty reliable. If the operator has to do the doors manually, there is a risk. Have you ever had a car with electric locks? Did you ever push the electric lock button at the same time as someone tried to open a door? And everything was jammed, until you cycled the electric locks, or the door handle, or the key lock, or all three? In manual, BART doors can do the same thing. Un-jamming them often takes two or three minutes (or more). It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, maybe once in every fifty manual doors, or so. When it happens, we call it in on the radio - we're not penalized, but often heckled! - so it is common.

Here's what we avoid:
1. People with a lot of stuff. It's a passenger train, not a freight train. Stuff is OK, but get there early, and have it by the black square. Check the train length, and load in the end cars, where there's more room.
2. Bikes. If we open the door, and there's no room for a bike, you go hunting. This takes more time.
3. Cell phones. If you are talking on the phone, you probably were walking slower, and weren't checking the schedule. And, if we open the doors again, it's easy for you to trip and drop the phone, sometimes into the trackway. Most people can't walk and chew gum at the same time, or talk on the phone, either. Most people rarely trip, or drop a phone if they are walking behind a person. They use the upper body movements, and head turnings as a navigation aid, to keep from tripping. When there is nobody in front, and add in the higher speed, "whoops".
4. Quick stations. If your station is one of the lesser-used ones, be ready to board and off-board quickly. You can sit in your seat at Montgomery, and finish two more chapters of "War and Peace", and still be waiting for people to off-board. But not at North Concord, or one of the other lesser-used stations. Be ready.
5. "Troublemaker" stations. Some stations seem to have more problems than others. Riders will hold doors, for half a dozen stragglers. And break the doors. Which means that everyone (except the driver) has to wait for the next train. Most operatorsd apprach these stations with a degree of apprehension, and, once they get a "clean" close, are very reluctant to take a chance.

BartBabe, I really enjoyed your comments.

The first time I'd ever ridden the trains as an adult I was actually on my way to turn in a job application to become a Train Operator. I was completely lost, being from the south bay. I'd also planned poorly...or failed to plan really....and had a very limited window in which to get to the employment office before they closed, on the last day applications were being accepted. (This is before you could apply online at

After somehow managing to find the Fremont station, buy a ticket, and get up the stairs, I arrived at the platform just as the train doors closed. I just stood there...totally dejected (not even knowing which way to look to make eye contact with the operator) I almost turned around to go home. Then, to my surprise, the doors reopened. With relief I boarded the train, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I always remember that day when someone comes running up(or down) the stairs after I've closed my doors. Probably more often than I should, I'll reopen them. If I don't it's usually because I'm already late or because I know there's another train right behind me.

You should know, though, that everytime I do I'm risking my job. As has been mentioned before there's a good chance I'll confuse the computer so we'll all lose a few minutes while it reboots, and in addition, I can't reopen the doors without disabling the door protection system. If anything goes wrong, and the log shows I was in manual mode....I could be back on the platform trying to turn in another job application. I'd rather avoid that, if you don't mind. ;>)

A.T.'s picture

Whoa. Yeah, I don't want that. I knew there was a reason for not reopening the doors too often. When I become a T/O, I still want to know how to keep everything smooth even in manual mode.

BART train operator

if you want to make sure you won't be getting a courtesy door cycle start screaming and cursing and that will seal the deal. i will reopen for the elderly, disabled, women with children, any woman late at night, or young children, oh and pretty girls even though it's petty. other than that you're now early for the next train. my favorite people to leave behind are the baggy pantalooned thugs who are running up/down the stairs, pushing people out of the way and yelling "YO!, YO!, YO!, YO!, YO!....." i'm thinking NO!,NO!,NO!,NO!....

Some TO's will stop the train and recycle the doors after travelling several feet. Is this permitted?

yes you can open the doors as long as the train in within the platform. people should understand that this can cause serious problems and delays. the doors don't just pop open, the train has to be put in manual mode then the doors are opened and then it's back to automatic, reset, go. sometimes you'll get a system error termination (SET) which means the computer goes down and you need to do all kinds of shit to get it going again. since people don't know this they assume the TO being mean by leaving them behind. if i reopen doors to let one person on invariably there are others who appesr at the last second so what am i to do? sit there for the rest of the day?i rarely open the doors once i close them unless it's an elderly person or a woman with children.

Yeah. I've seen an operator do that. We passengers need to exercise personal responsibility. For those who are, right on. Don't trip T/O's you guys do a fantastic job. Maybe one day I'll be a T/O in BART. See you on the rails.

T/O fan, Jarel Martin.

Yeah guys.. From an operator's point of view.. there is ALWAYS somone comming down the stairs that you dont see until those doors are closed. Unless there is a little kid or disabled person that got left behind, Im not going to reopen anything. If your late for that train (I mean early for the next one) just wait..If you knew what time that train came before you got to the station in the first place you may not have been late.

A.T.'s picture

I use BART mainly to get to my classes at Laney College. I get on at the Coliseum Station and exit at Lake Merritt Station. I get to the Coliseum Station an hour early. It's a habit. The Rule of Thumb at work: Come early, leave late.

Morgan Spurlock said it best in my opinion. "Where does Personal Responsibility stop, and Corporate Responsibility begin?"

What's the max dwell time in a station for a train? 20 seconds?

Some of use will be transfering from a local bus and when that coach runs later, many have to dash to get to a train about to pull. A few times the train is just leaving when getting on the platform, but a few times I've gotten a courtesy door cycle and usually try to aknowledge the op with a hand sign or if close enough to the cab, saying thank you.

> Some of use will be transfering from a local bus ...

If you see the same TO every day, let him know about your bus. (If he's an extra, he might not remember every bus, but a regular might). When I had a regular run, I looked down at Del Norte, to see if any commuter buses were pulling in. If so, I allowed a few extra seconds to get everyone.

Hint - wear white. Then the TO can see down the escalator. And, somebody move that litter barrel to the other side of the post, so the TO can see riders coming up.

i don't care what color you wear NO DOOR CYCLES AFTER THE INITIAL ONE. PERIOD.

ekliptikz's picture

If the door is closed when I get there, I just latch onto the side of the train and ride it to the next station, where the doors will open and I can get on