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October 5, 2010

Metro Testing New Barriers at Brentwood and North Hanley

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Starting last week, Metro has been busy testing two new features for the MetroLink system: between-car-barriers and smart card validators.

The new safety barrier helps prevent passengers from accidentally stepping between coupled rail cars. This platform-mounted system is a temporary installation. Several other safety barrier systems are being considered as well. The between-car-barriers will be effective at noon on Tuesday, October 5 at the Brentwood/I-64 station.  The barriers are spring loaded so a wheelchair could roll over them in an emergency.

Between-Car-Barrier at Brentwood/I-64 MetroLink Station

Metro is also testing placement options for new validation machines that will become part of the new Smart Card technology we will begin to deploy in late 2012 or 2013. Five non-operational machines are currently to the left of the current validator at the North Hanley Metro Transit Center. They were installed on Thursday and will be in place for several days. Part of the spacing includes enough room so that a wheelchair or mobility device could maneuver through.

Validator barriers at North Hanley

Have you seen the new barriers up at Brentwood or North Hanley?  What do you think?

21 thoughts on “Metro Testing New Barriers at Brentwood and North Hanley”

  1. David says:

    What exactly is the “Smart Card” technology? Is the idea just that your ticket would be validated just by walking on to the platform?

    1. Courtney says:

      It’s a system of “tapping” cards against a barrier system to automatically deduct/validate your pass from your smart card. Similar to the Toronto, Canada system. You can read all about the program on a previous blog post on smart cards.

  2. Herbie says:

    Is it necessary to have so many validators so closely spaced for a swipe and go system? Would not 3, maybe 4, validators be more than enough? Five definitely seems overkill for the space shown. Then again, I assume everyone will be required to swipe with the smart cards whereas, today, riders with passes just walk on through.

    1. Courtney says:

      Yes, the idea is that everyone would swipe the smart card system, including pass holders. The cards would be refillable online, automatically renew, and other benefits. The barrier system makes a loud noise when activated, and also alerts security when someone passes through without tapping the barrier.

  3. Herbie says:

    Will it matter which validator people use, as in the one on the left or the one on the right?

    1. Courtney says:

      The one on the left is operational. The others are functioning as barriers for placement testing.

  4. RTBones says:

    Hi Courtney! A quick question regarding the Between-the-Car barriers — have their been instances of people getting hurt that we (or maybe just I) haven’t heard about? I certainly understand trying to enhance safety, but this just seems to be overkill, IMO.

  5. RTBones says:

    DOH – need edit button. “their” should have been “there”.

  6. Mike says:

    When I first heard about Metrolink installing between-car barriers, I thought Metro was referring to the type of chain-like or gate-like structures that are used to connect between train cars, similar to the types used between train cars in Chicago, DC, Philly or NY.

  7. Mike says:

    To add to my previous comments, looking at the appearance of these barriers may, itself, pose as a hazard to passenger safety on the platforms

    1. Courtney says:

      Mike and RT,

      Hello! Yes, they are considered necessary, for visually impaired passengers’ safety. This is an investigation, so we’ll be paying attention to safety issues. And, they are spring loaded, so can be stepped through or rolled over in an emergency.

  8. Jimmy Z says:

    Between-car barriers – unless the trains always stop at the same spot, this prototype seems to cause more problems than it solves – it’s not long enough for the normal variation in stop points, and since there’s 8″-12″ between the barrier and the edge of the platform, there’s a real possibility for someone to be trapped between the barrier and the train (as it arrives or departs), even if it is spring loaded. Probably better to devise a vehicle-mounted system than a platform-mounted one.

    Validator barrier – why not adopt RFID proximity technology (get within 12″-18″ to be recognized), instead of tap to pass? It works for Walmart, why not Metro?! As for the current test, the two potential problems I see are conflicting flows with arriving and departing patrons (inadequate width), especially at busy times, and a potential trip hazard from the bolted bases, since the validators are so close together. Bigger picture, not every station is staffed at all times – what are the consequences if the validator alarms and no one is present to challenge? (I’m assuming that on-board fare checkers will be becoming history.)

  9. Jimmy Z says:

    One more thought – if the validator barriers are offset, instead of placed in a straight line, you could either provide more validators and or more space between them:

    @ @ @ @ @ @ @




    @ @ @ @

    @ @ @

  10. Jimmy Z says:

    moderator – that last one didn’t post well – you delkete all the @@@@@’s . . .

  11. Courtney says:

    I’ll pass along your comments Jimmy. Thanks!

  12. Courtney says:

    It shows up correctly in the email alert. I’ll pass that along to the projects’ team.

  13. Mike says:

    As I also mentioned in my previous comment, I agree with Jimmy Z regarding the type of between-car barriers which could be used between Metrolink trains. I think the type mounted on the vehicles would be more preactical. Train operators would not have to deal with the burden of positioning trains in order to align them with barriers mounted on station platforms, which could increase the dwelling time of trains at the stations.

  14. Mark says:

    I have yet to see the between-car barriers, so I’ll refrain from making an opinion, good or bad. As a bike rider who aims for the ‘center ends’ of the cars, this ‘landmark’ would help me figure out how far down the platform to go with my bike. So that’s a plus.

    I don’t like the validators idea… Why do you need so many of them? I’ve NEVER seen a long line behind the single validators we currently have. Plus: They’re too close together. It reminds me of the cattle shoots at an amusement park… NOT the ‘open’ atmosphere of the current Metrolink.

    I’m a monthly pass holder, and like the fact that I don’t have to pull my pass out of the holder all the time. I have no facts to back it up, but of all the rides I’ve taken over the years, I’ve only seen a couple tickets issued for people who didn’t have a pass when checked. My hunch is that the problem of ‘free riders’ isn’t as large as you think it is.

  15. Kerry says:

    Mark, the smart card technology to be used will not require to pull your pass out of the holder. The signal between the card and validator is strong enough that just getting within 1/2 inch of the validator will register the card. so, your pass can stay in the holder or possibly your wallet and you should still be fine. I have bene told that in London, they market and sell special shirts/jackets that have a sleeve pocket to keep your smart card in. Users just put thier wrists up to the validators!

  16. Jimmy Z says:

    This is more what I was thinking:




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