The Tyne and Wear Metro is launching a campaign aimed at stopping passengers obstructing train doors.
Says train driver, Chris Wray, ‘People obstruct the doors every day – I’ve had at least two or three incidents during my five-hour shift just now. I once saw a train with a walking stick stuck in the doors. People know they shouldn’t do it, because we tell them, but they still do.
‘It’s very frustrating as a driver to see it happening again and again. It’s dangerous, makes us late and can cause problems with the doors, which means we have to take trains out of service – and that’s an inconvenience to passengers.’
The new campaign uses a specially commissioned animation called ‘Use your brain near a train.’ The satirical film features cartoon characters who receive a range of injuries as a result of obstructing train doors.
‘The campaign came about after a Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into an incident at Jarrow Metro station last year recommended better awareness training for the public. A woman’s arm became trapped in the doors of a train. She was dragged a short distance along the platform, as passengers on board raised the alarm and alerted the driver, who stopped the train.
‘Last year there were three incidents of people being trapped in train doors, but a survey carried out by two of DB Regio Tyne and Wear’s train drivers as part of the RAIB investigation show there are at least 20,000 incidents of passengers deliberately obstructing the doors on trains each year.
‘There have been 80 incidents of trains being delayed because of people holding doors open, since April. Passengers who are caught obstructing the doors face a fine of up to £1,000 and there have been two people prosecuted in the last 18 months.
Says Sharon Kelly, a director at DB Regio Tyne and Wear, ‘We introduced platform announcements and put posters up on train doors to remind passengers that they shouldn’t obstruct the doors, but it doesn’t seem to have worked, because people are still doing it.
‘It’s madness really. You wouldn’t stick your hand in the door of a bus that was about to leave a bus stop, would you? But that’s just what people are doing on the Metro.’