Getting in and out of public transport carriages

In this article I will discuss how to enter or leave train or metro vehicles. People may wonder why this needs to be discussed as it seems very logic but apparently this is not for everyone. I will also briefly discuss how I think stations should be organised to make the flow of people more efficient.

Getting out and in carriages

Situation A: For me, the fastest and most efficient way to leave and enter carriages is that, after the transport stops, people outside the vehicles move to the sides of the doors of the carriages. Doing so, after the doors open people can leave the coaches by moving straight forward without people standing in front of them. If the space before the door is vacated, 2 or 3 people can leave at the same time by moving straightforward so the train or metro will be empty very quickly. Ones most people left the carriages, people outside can move from both sides into emptier carriages. Doing it this way, in only a little minutes, sometimes less than a minute the carriages are cleared and refilled so the transport can continue its trip with little delays, if any. This is the way how people leave the carriages in the underground of London where millions of people use the transport each day without the system collapsing. And often two or three metro trains follow each other during peak times so very quickly the platforms are emptied and everyone is transported before new people refill the platforms.
Situation A: In (a) and (b), people outside stand on the side of the doors so people inside the vehicle can easily leave the carriage before the people outside enter (press on figure for animation)

Situation B: In other places however there is another way that people enter and leave the transport. After the trains stop, people waiting on the platforms move in front of the doors in the hope they can be the first to enter. However, as a result and after the doors open, people inside struggle to leave the carriages and have to force themselves a way through the people outside. Of course, as this is less fluent, it takes longer and, in order to avoid too many delays, the metro or train sometimes closes the doors before everyone can enter. Because of this, as soon as the transport stops there are some people who already try to enter the full carriages, making it even more difficult for people to leave the carriages and thus causing further delays whereby some people are not even able to exit the carriage before the transport continues its journey. And thus, the train or metro has a longer stop while there is still a risk not everyone can leave and thus needs to return or can enter and thus needs to wait for the next train or metro. Of course, in very crowded stations this may result in chaos when people can not leave the carriages if too many block the exits.
Situation B: In (a), fewer people outside stand in front of the doors so people inside can still quite easily leave the carriage while in (b) a larger number of people stand in front of the doors so it becomes more difficult to leave the vehicle. No arrows for entering the coaches as this is done at any moment. (press on figure for animation)

Of course, also tube and train drivers and conductors need to coordinate while the timetable should be possible (for instance sufficient time in the stations to allow people to leave and enter the carriages).

Organisation of metro stations

Not only how people leave the carriages, also the organisation of the station is important for a fluent flow of people and certainly in metro stations as often many people have to walk in narrow corridors.

I think best is one entrance and one exit corridor at the platforms. This way, there is a flow from people entering at one side while others leave at another side and whereby the flow of humans in a certain underground system should always be either in the same direction as the moving transport or in the opposite direction (maybe one or the other direction is preferable, I don't know although I would think move with the direction of the metro) so very soon people understand they have to walk on the platform in one or the other direction to find the exit. Of course, on the platform there will be some area where people will cross each other (for instance some people stand still and wait for the next metro). If everyone walks in one direction and thus without people moving against the flow, more people can walk in that direction more fluently, even in narrow corridors.

At a certain point these corridors can combine in a larger hall where people can move to other corridors or where people enter or leave the station. Still, best is to separate entrance and exit as in airports so people don't have to cross each other in door openings. If there are a number of entrances and exits (for instance towards different streets), then these should only be indicated in the main hall and not on the platforms so people who are trying to find the correct exit will not obstruct others who enter or leave the carriages and thus cause no irritation while in the main hall they should have sufficient space and time to find the correct exit.


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