17 April 2008

So you want to be a subway driver?

my view by streeter j. seidell
Congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming a New York City Subway driver. An exciting life of public service lies ahead, but first you must learn to operate your train in a safe, professional manner. Since we at the MTA strive to deliver a uniform experience to our riders, we encourage you to learn and put into use the steps and instruction in the manual.

1. Accelerating and braking When leaving a station, it is best to jam forward the drive shaft for a split second and then pull it back immediately. This is how we alert our riders that the train is leaving the station: with a violent, sudden jerk forward.
When approaching a station it is best to apply the standard MTA-approved braking technique: While counting to 20 in your head, forcefully apply the brakes for the following numbers: 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 16, 20. We find that this braking method is a much better experience for the rider than a slow, steady deceleration. This way, any sleeping rider will surely be awoken by the time the train has come to a stop.
2. Door operation Running the subway doors is of paramount importance to not only your passengers on the train, but to your passengers waiting to board. When the train has come to full stop, wait 25 to 45 seconds before initiating door opening. This way, passengers will have plenty of time to gather their belongings and form organized mobs at each door.
When closing doors: First, make sure there is at least one person rushing down the stairs to catch the train. This will indicate you’ve been idling at the station long enough. Be sure to close the doors before he or she gets inside. In the event that one of the doors is being held open, calmly implore your passengers to release the doors by saying the following into the intercom system: “If you don’t let go of the doors, we’re not going anywhere, people!”
3. Intercom etiquette In some cases, it is necessary to shout loudly into the intercom system. However, as a default, you should talk quietly so as not to frighten the passengers. Also, it is imperative that you speak as quickly as possible. This is New York City. Commuters don’t have the time to listen to schedule changes or police announcements at a leisurely pace.
4. Emergency protocol Often, it is necessary to stop the train between stations. It is important to wait at least seven minutes before telling your passengers why, if at all. And remember, if you’re going to be stuck for seven seconds or seven hours, tell your passengers, “We’ll be moving shortly.”

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