Credit Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Moving from one subway car to another is no easy task.
There is the dart-and-hustle option, entailing a sprint between entrances before the doors close, and the perilous â and prohibited â passing between the doors at the end of the car.
But the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to examine another route: a new generation of subway trains with open pathways between cars.
This week, the authority released an image of the model, known as an open gangway plan, delighting train aficionados who had wondered when the idea would arrive in New York City. The model has already appeared in systems in Paris, Toronto and other cities.
The cars are still years away here: The authority could award a contract as early as next year to build 10 of them, and they would not be delivered until at least 2020, or later, officials said. But their inclusion in a presentation to the authorityâs board members brought to life an idea that has been debated for years.
Open gangway subway cars â similar in concept to accordion-style buses â could have several benefits, officials said, including a greater capacity for riders. In Toronto, officials have said the model allowed them to increase capacity by up to 10 percent, and some riders there have praised the new layout.
Credit Peter Morgan/Associated Press
Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the authority, said the design could help reduce so-called dwell times at stations, when trains are stopped as people jostle to depart and board trains. If passengers are standing in a crowded car, they can walk to the next car and exit there, Mr. Ortiz said.
The authority wants to test one 10-car train in the system to determine whether to implement the model more broadly, he said.
âThese are subway cars that will be running in our system for the next 30 or 40 years, conceivably,â he said. âWe want to take our time and do our due diligence with the design of these cars.â
The new cars, known as R211s, will replace R46 cars, which run primarily on the A and R subway lines, Mr. Ortiz said. The 10 open gangway cars, which would cost about $ 52.4 million, are included as part of the authorityâs five-year capital plan, which is still awaiting approval from a state board.
At the authorityâs board meeting on Monday, officials said that the new cars could also have digital video screens inside and charging options for portable devices.
For now, riders who want to escape an unpleasant odor, a thick crowd or a loud performance must wait until the next stop. The authorityâs rules are clear that riders cannot use the doors at the end of cars unless there is an emergency or a directive from a conductor or a police officer.
Andrew Albert, a rider representative on the transportation authorityâs board, said on Wednesday that he agreed the agency should try out the cars. But he had concerns over vendors and performers walking freely through a train and worried that if there were smoke, it could spread more quickly.
But Mr. Albert said that as New York Cityâs subway system strove to accommodate as many as six million daily riders, it was worth seeing whether the open cars could allow more riders on each train.
âWeâll see how riders like them,â he said.