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Plagued DC Metro Keeps Opening Doors On The Wrong Side Of Platform

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Concerns over public safety on Washington, D.C. public transportation continues to plague the city and Metro officials, the latest example involving several reports of Metro doors opening on the wrong side of the train.

In less than a two-week span, officials found three instances where train operators came into a station and opened the doors facing the tracks of trains moving in the opposite direction. In every case, the train operator was suspended and an investigation was opened, reports NBC Washington.

“All I can say is that it is happening,” an anonymous Metro officials told NBC Washington regarding the troubling trend.

The D.C. Metro is a lightening rod of criticism over rising crime rates and a lack of police presence in stations across the city. Despite a state-of-the-art security center and surveillance cameras in every station, crime rates rose from 5.02 crimes per million riders in 2014 to 6.2 million in 2015. (RELATED: Metro Boasts New Security Center Despite Widespread Attacks)

Opening doors on the wrong side of the platform has yet to cause any injuries, Metro officials are anxious about what appears to be a growing trend. Officials want operators to make mental efforts to follow strict rules that help avoid easy mistakes, as train doors are opened by operators over 5.5 million times a month. A recent internal memo obtained by NBC Washington reminded operators to follow the “5 second rule” before opening doors when they arrive at a station.

“When an action is repeated this frequently, the potential exists for muscle memory to take over and the task to occur without conscious effort,” Metro Chief Spokesperson Dan Stessel told NBC4.

In early February, safety concerns on the Metro were raised after a train ran a red stop light coming into a station. While it was not moving anywhere near full speed, it still came close to a train stopped ahead of it with boarding passengers — it came within 150 feet. The Federal Transit Administration, which claims this is a recurring problem with the D.C. Metro, was notified of the close encounter, reports WTOP.

A number of high profile assaults have also spooked community members. A group of teenagers attacked a man on the Metro in January, and were caught on camera at Gallery Place Station — six people were arrested in the case, four for assault on a police officer.

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