WASHINGTON — The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced Thursday plans to explore the concept of open gangways for the new 8,000 series railcar designs.
A gangway is a corridor that connects rail cars. Currently, all railcars have doors that separate the gangways. Open gangways, which are utilized in other Metro areas, such as London, Toronto and Paris, remove the doors between railcars.
WMATA hopes the open gangways would improve accessibility and allow for more people to ride on a train at once. Additionally, the agency believes the open corridors would be safe and more convenient for customers with strollers, luggage and bikes.
During a live-streamed meeting on Thursday, WMATA General Manager Randy Clark said other large metro areas in the United States plan to move to the open gangway concepts, including New York and Atlanta.
Clark hopes to get input from the community regarding the open gangway concept, saying there will be chances for opinions to be heard. Digital surveys will also be created to hear feedback from the community.
There were mixed reactions from people on Twitter regarding the open gangway design concept. While some people think the design is more aesthetically pleasing, others argue whether it will actually make riding Metro safer.
"This looks cool in principle, but also makes it extremely difficult to escape aggressive or misbehaving passengers," said one Twitter user. "I wouldn't necessarily call them 'safe'"
While some agreed with the concern, others pointed out that it could be more dangerous to be trapped in a singular railcar.