For security reasons I won’t disclose where these doors are located, but behind them is a serious power room with voltages as high as 13,800 volts (13.8 KV). There are two sets of these double doors and neither would latch without being slammed shut.
Needless to say, they were often open because people would not bother to make sure they were shut securely. If a ticket was opened (I think I may have opened one myself) nothing was ever done, which is sadly typical. The tickets are just closed without any work being performed. We couldn’t get away with that in ATC because generally speaking when our equipment failed, everyone (including the local media) knew about it.
Problems like this exist all over the railroad. Management pays lip service to the issue but nothing seems to get done. Doors are left unlocked for several reasons:
1) The automatic closers don’t work
2) The hinges are sprung so the door hits on the frame (or, as is the case here, the other door).
3) Employees purposely block the door open with a broom handle or some other object.
4) Employees stuff newspaper or paper towels in the opening in the frame to prevent the latch from working.
5) The wrong lock was installed — I believe it is called a “school house” lock, where the latch can be locked in the _unlocked_ position or operate normally (always locked, opened with the key). Whether inadvertently or not, these locks are often left in the unlocked position.
6) A variation on #5 is a latch that has a rocker switch on the edge of the door that allows the latch to be left unlocked. These are also frequently left open.
7) Air flow from ventilation or trains can also prevent doors from closing.
Needless to say, this is a potentially serious safety issue for both passengers (if they use the restroom in a station for example) and employees. I made the mistake of reporting several doors that weren’t locking once. I ended up getting reamed out by the “safety officer” while my supervisor stood behind her with his arms crossed like one of Louis Farrakhan’s bodyguards. Apparently she thought I made her look bad or something. Whatever her problem was, that is a perfect example of how completely dysfunctional Metro is. It’s a big game of “Wack-a-Mole”, where front-line employees are the moles.