You may now exit the subway in (relative) silence(Kate Hinds)
They were first installed on the system nine years ago, when the MTA added gated doors to subway system exits to meet code requirements. These doors — hundreds of them — included so-called "panic bars" intended to curb fare evasion. These doors were supposed to be for emergency use only.
(Kate Hinds )
But people did as people often do, and riders routinely flouted the rules to use the doors as exits — often in the mistaken belief that it would save them a lot of time. Meanwhile, the alarms did nothing to curtail fare evasion. They did, however, drive people crazy.
Or as Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, diplomatically put it: "Our customers have been quite clear in displaying their annoyance and letting us know that the alarms really were the number one annoyance for them as they travel through the system."
(One New York Times Op-Doc author did the math and found that a daily subway commuter could be exposed to four hours of blaring alarms each year, "at a level that is probably damaging your hearing.")
So, said Ortiz, getting rid of them "was an easy decision to make."
Earlier this year, the door alarms in areas near a station agent were the first to go. "And then we proceeded to disarm the remaining alarms in non-staff controlled areas," said Ortiz.
He said you might hear a few lingering offenders. But New York City's era of subway station emergency door alarms is officially over.
Kate Hinds is an Associate Producer for WNYC News. She also reports for WNYC and Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.