Starting from next week Auckland Transport are trialling new markings at a few train stations in a bid to make it easier for those with disabilities, pushing prams or with bikes. They say “concerns have been raised about how difficult it is to know where to stand on the platform to be in the best position to locate the doors (visually impaired passengers) or the ramps (mobility impaired) and be able to board the trains before they depart.”

The trial markings are being installed at Sylvia Park, New Lynn, Avondale and Fruitvale Road Stations for use starting Monday. One of the impacts is that some 3-car trains will stop at different locations on the platform to provide consistency and that may mean doors to the low floor section are further away from the shelter – which AT need to provide more of at most stations. AT also hope that by improving access for those who need to use the middle carriage they can improve dwell times of trains.

The trial will be monitored over a number of months for effectiveness and compliance. Some of the measures being monitored include:

  • Mobility Group feedback
  • General feedback through all customer channels
  • Dwell time analysis
  • LE & train Manger feedback
  • AT staff general feedback
  • Transdev staff general feedback

They say that if the trial is deemed successful then the Platform and Door Markers may be rolled-out across the rail network. Here are what some of the trials look like.

Train platform layout 1

Train platform layout 2

Train platform layout 3

Overall I think this is a good idea and one that should help however I suspect it will need more than just some markings on the platform. Often I people with disabilities, bikes or prams who don’t even realise that the middle low floor car exists and who then struggle up the stairs and in the case of the latter two groups can potentially block doors and aisles.

I’d also like to see AT include information about what train is going to turn up on the platform displays – of which we need more. Showing the length of the approaching train is quite common overseas.

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  1. The world gas gone crazy.

    It is not a complicated exercise to stand on a platform and catch a train but you would think it was akin to performing brain surgery given the number of signs AT wants to stick on the platforms.

    All they need to do is build functional platforms and provide passengers with information. Yet AT focusses on filling platforms with paint, signs and all manner of other such things we don’t need, wasting a huge amount of money in the process whilst providing minimal benefits.

    1. Try catching the train with a stroller and see how easily you can figure out where to stand in order to be at the level-loading doors.

      As for your dismissal of guidance for the visually-impaired, spot the arse with no concept of life with diminished/non-existent sight.

      1. Your post is embarrassing.

        If you’ve ever tried to catch a train you will realise that drivers can’t stop on a 10 cent piece. They stop at different places. This infrastructure is not going to work and I’ve never seen it in my overseas experience.

        1. Must be a problem in the many places that have platform doors then. Matthew, I’ve created a simple rule you can use to generate your posts in future: Proposal benefits drivers – you support it. Proposal benefits PT users, pedestrians or cyclists – you oppose it.

        2. It’s you that is embarrassing as usual. I have driven a train on the London underground and even with Westinghouse brakes I could stop the train within a centimetre or two: on electrostatic it was very easy.
          Having caught the metro in Tokyo many times I can tell you that drivers do indeed stop on a 5 cent piece. Where the doors will be when the train stops is clearly marked on the platform and the train stops precisely there.
          Your callous disregard for the visually impaired and those using wheelchairs does you no credit at all. But as usual when called out on it you play the victim! Pathetic.

          1. A wealth of experience there Harry, having driven Tube trains. It’s amazing the real world experience that exists on this site.

        3. It’s the fact that there are 3 and 6-car units that make things difficult. With the 6-car units I know exactly where to stand so that a door winds up in front of me just from experience, but with the 3-car units, it’s hard to tell if the driver is going to stop at the shelter, or at the front of the platform. Most times it’s the latter, but a few times I’ve had to rush down to the centre.

          Some uniformity would be nice.

    2. And here is an example of someone who hasnt taken the train before – or maybe a car lover.
      The electric trains are now able to stop pretty much at the same place +/- 1m. I’m pretty sure this would be a success and would be role out the whole network.

  2. “wasting a huge amount of money” – calm down with your straw man. This is a piffling amount of money on a good trial, and compared to what we spend on road markings every frigging day (let alone the billions we spend on actual roads), it is literally nothing.

    1. Agreed. They don’t spend nearly enough on the little things with PT, many stations still have “MAXX” branding, which is kind of confusing for some people. At work, I overheard someone say “check the MAXX website” the other day… lol… Also the film on the glass at stations doesn’t seem to get replaced nearly enough, they should do it every week or something, expensive but at least it lowers the incentive of scratching into it if its gone every week and makes stations more visibly appealing… They could also pick up on the rubbish laying around the tracks, especially near the britomart tunnel entrance and the old beds and stuff people have thrown in the new lynn trench. I am sure if it was a State Highway it would be gone in days if not hours.

  3. When taking a stroller on the train I often go the doors with stairs by mistake – particularly on longer trains – often its not clear until the door is completely open which one is the accessible entry.

    Rather than mark the platforms, which may be hard to see when full of people, why not paint the accessible door on the train a different colour or in an eye catching pattern? Aesthetic communities may be outraged, but that seems beside the point when I understand its New Zealand law that mandates that our trains include a garish yellow!

    1. Unfortunately doesn’t help those without sight. However, your solution could be used alongside these changes, but that might be a bit too much.

  4. ‘Showing the length of the approaching train is quite common overseas’; it’s more than common in Europe, it’s pretty much standard practice as it encourages speedier boarding. It’s not all that difficult to do either since there are only two options here. I think too it might be time for a few ‘Let the passengers off the train first’ platform announcements. Can’t count the number of times I’ve had to disembark through a phalanx of shoving boarders. Time for Aucklanders to start learning some train etiquette.

    1. Yes, better we learn it now while it is in it’s (relative) infancy than when PT really takes off. I concur with The Real Mathew’s point above about not going overboard (to the point of visual pollution that obscures the desired message) but it’s important to get the ‘system’ set up right now so that the proper PT etiquette/culture can be established.
      Thus far we have some idiots trying to get on the train immediately and still other idiots trying to get off the train only after it’s pulled up to the platform. (NB: these idiots are a minority of users, but their behaviour is not helpful to efficiency).

      1. There are any number of great examples in Japan to encourage people to line up in the right place. Some platforms at the massive JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo have circles and squares on the platform to mark alternate trains, so people don’t all have to queue in the same place.

        An extreme example is Meitetsu Nagoya Station, which is a central station pushing a lot of trains through – one every two minutes at peak times – to various destinations. It has a system of five different colours (three visible in the pic below), which correspond to coloured-in ‘paths’ on the platform where to stand, and a bar lights up above the appropriate coloured panel for the next train. It works very well. This pic gives you an idea (the platform on the left is an arrivals platform so no paths on the platform, only on the departures platform on the right)

        The point is that some sort of system to indicate where to stand is global best practice. It is both a no-brainer and totally achievable to implement in Auckland. A little nudge to make things run smoother is a good thing. Why do we resist making life easier for ourselves?

        1. There being nothing new under the sun, there used to be a similar (but much, much lower key) setup in NZ. In the halcyon days of InterCity Rail/Tranz Scenic, the Overlander and the Bay Express departed platform 9 at Wellington just 20 minutes apart, with the Bay Express the front train, and painted lines along the platform from the concourse directed passengers to the correct train. The remnants of the lines survived until the platform was upgraded for the Matangi units a few years ago.

  5. Two features that might be worth copying from Wellington’s Matangi trains:

    a) the door nearest the wheelchair spaces is painted a distinctive colour;
    b) the doors nearest the wheelchair and cycle spaces have very large disability/cycle symbols beside them (these symbols used to be small, and have been greally enlarged recently).

    These certainly help distinguish the relevant doors, so why doesn’t Auckland follow suit?

      1. Sounds like a good idea to me. Every little bit of usability will help someone, and by doing so build usage and support for train use. Let’s do it.

  6. I’d like it if the 6 car sets would stop in the middle of the station instead of right down at the end of the station. Then you simply stand at the centre and there’s no problems. At Avondale, for example, I find myself getting on the end carriage to reduce my walking time when I embark. The driver stops right down at the other end.

  7. Perth has areas on its platforms marked “keep clear”, which align with the train doors so alighting passengers can easily leave the train.
    In other systems there are also markings for where the disabled should wait. The TM should normally be in this car to assist the disabled in boarding.
    Why does AT need to reinvent its own marking system ? There are many much more mature systems that could be used.

  8. That directional/leading stuff is a massive slip hazard, I’ve seen so many people take bad spills on it. Thank god they will plaster stations with it…

    1. Agreed there, while it helps the disabled it does cause a massive hazard in wet weather, but I find some of the tiles they use are worse than others, the ones at the Avondale pedestrian-rail crossing I slipped and scuffed my knee on two occasions in the wet weather, my hop card got equally as scuffed 🙁 This was back in 2013 though, things might of changed there since.

    1. Having seen a blind person walk into the art statute on the junction of Broadway and Remuera Road placed in the middle of the pedestrian crossing (the statute is gun metal grey) you seriously have to question the commitment of Auckland Council towards the visually impaired. This proposal makes good copy however.

  9. Certainly painting the doors of the centre cars a different colour would help the situation but what we are dealing here is one of unfamiliarity, and that should right itself in fairly short order as more people become familiar with the new trains. That unfamiliarity probably extends right to the people at the top, who give the impression that they haven’t bothered hopping on a plane to see how the system in Wellington has evolved since the late 1930s. But we are only talking about teething problems here, because on the whole the new system is working very well.

    1. Any system that relies on its users’ familiarity with the way it works will ultimately fail, because to maintain patronage it must always be attracting new users (even for zero growth) who by definition will be unfamiliar with three system.

      Successful systems make things as easy as possible for newbies.

  10. Saw some fresh Kermit on Avondale station platform today, looks like Avondale is getting the Option-3 with the bike and pram symbols on green. No sign of works on Fruitvale Rd or New Lynn stations yet though.

  11. Thats a good idea. the difference overseas however is they already have level boarding. The markings just tell people where to line up to make boarding and alighting efficient. I think in the future we need to fix our platforms for this

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