UPDATE (April 21): After being cancelled because the stickers peeled off, the STM has restarted the project.
The STM has begun a pilot project in an effort to reduce boarding problems at metro stations, particularly during rush hour. The idea is to mark where the doors open (they always open at the same place), and create a buffer zone so that people can exit the train safely while others wait off to the side to get on. Believe it or not, this is actually a problem: people are so desperate to get on that they crowd the doors and don’t leave any room for people to get off. Sometimes it can be like trying to get to the stage of a rock concert.
The project is in place at three platforms, each with a different design.
At Berri-UQAM, the design has three arrows. A large one shows the path people exiting should take. Two smaller ones show how people should wait – off to the side, not crossing this yellow line until everyone is out.
A level above, on the Côte-Vertu platform, the same design but without the small side arrows.
Finally, at Lionel-Groulx, a more abstract design that shows just a yellow chevron with no indication what it’s for (besides showing where the door is).
Which might be why one of them ended up in front of a wall of the Dunkin Donuts.
The idea makes sense in theory – effective human traffic control would make the trains go faster. And doing it as a pilot project makes even more sense, so that even if it’s the stupidest idea they’ve ever done it’s not a big deal.
I like the idea of marking the location of the doors (metro-savvy people judge their locations based on memory or by the wear pattern on the floor), but this system doesn’t rub me the right way for a few reasons:
First of all, it’s patronizing and condescending. Like those instructions in washrooms that tell you how to wash your hands, do we really need to be told how to stand in front of a train?
The second reason is more practical. Due to a mixture of uneven and dirty floors, plus the fact that people step on them, the stickers are already peeling away. On the Angrignon platform, more than half are already gone.
Finally, as Blork points out, this could easily have the opposite effect. By marking where the doors are, it encourages people to crowd around them. These people are more interested in getting to a seat before everyone else than they are being polite or letting everyone off the train. They want to squeeze by before everyone gets off so they can nab their plastic throne.
Of course, that’s just a guess. We’ll see once the pilot project is finished how well it did. In the meantime, the STM is asking people who have seen these things to fill out a survey online, asking which one they prefer (and whether they have any impact).