I wrote about platform doors in my January 17 column in The Japan Times, in response to a question from a reader who questioned whether these new safety barriers on train platforms amount to “typically Japanese paternalistic over-protection.”
Lord knows there’s plenty of official mollycoddling in Japan, from the “mind your step” announcements played in an endless loop at the bottom of escalators, to the men in hard hats who bow us around even minor construction. As my friend Fumiko fumes when handled in such a fashion, “What are we, idiot children?”
In that light, I thought it would be interesting to point out that it’s not just Japan that wants to keep people from falling onto the tracks: similar platform doors are in use in at least 44 cities, mostly in Asia and Europe. First, here’s a photo of the platform doors on the new Line 11 in Barcelona, Spain:
And a shot of the Blue Line in Bangkok:
And one more, from London:
Meanwhile, back here in Tokyo, JR has installed half-height platform doors at two stations on the Yamanote line (Ebisu and Meguro). The next stations in line for a retrofit are Osaki, Ikebukuro, Otsuka, Sugamo, Komagome, Shinokubo, Mejiro, Takadanobaba and Tamachi.
What do you think? Read the rationale for platform doors, as summarized in my column. Then leave a comment. Is this a waste of money? Or a sensible investment in passenger safety and reliable service?