ttc subway doors

Video shows TTC subway doors closing way too fast for comfort but there's more to the story

Have you ever heard the "ding dang dong" of a Toronto subway train closing its doors within seconds of stepping off the rocket? Like those sliding panels opened and shut so quickly that you could have lost a backpack or ponytail?

You're not crazy (though you may be exaggerating, like I am, about the ponytail thing).

The doors of a TTC subway don't automatically open for any set length of time; they can stay spread apart for minutes or, theoretically, they could be closed as soon as they open.

Toronto Transit Commission spokesperson Stuart Green tells blogTO that all vehicle doors are controlled by an operator who manually triggers "open" and "close" actions at every stop. The doors are controlled by a guard in the rear of the subway, as opposed to the driver up front.

Most of the time, anyway.

Video footage started circulating a few weeks ago in which people can be seen getting off a subway train at Royal York station, only for the doors to close almost immediately after them.

Passengers in the station seem upset, blaming the guard for purposely antagonizing them by closing the doors too early.

But this isn't what happened. In fact, according to Green, the Commission determined that this driver not only behaved appropriately, but that he his actions might actually have helped save some riders from potential harm.

"He's opening and closing very briefly," someone inside the train can be heard saying at the beginning of the aforemention video. Someone's phone camera is already rolling, pointed straight at the subway doors in question.

The person filming gets out of the car and within literally two seconds, the door starts to close behind them. The videographer pans over to a man speaking directly with the guard through his open window. The man seems to be upset with the driver, pointing out to him that the doors are closing way too quickly for most people to get in or out.

The driver eventually shuts his window and the train speeds off, leaving the angry man and everyone else on the platform confused and angry.

"Closing those doors way too early," wrote the Toronto-based Instagram account @areacode416ix, who obtained the video from a friend, when sharing the clip in late July.

Comments poured forth from angry viewers, most of whom seemed to believe instantly that the driver was being a jerk.

"That's f*cked," wrote one. "Driver was trying to end his shift quickly or was late for the next station."

"The TTC has such contempt for its riders," wrote another. "Ummm people could get hurt. That driver has mental issues," wrote another still.

But as it turns out, the driver was doing his best to get the subway taken out of service on account of a defect that was controlling the doors on his behalf, and doing it way too quickly.

"I've just been advised that a defect was discovered on that train later that evening and the train was taken out of service," Green told blogTO this week after looking into the situation.

"Basically, there was a mismatch between the light/chimes and door mechanism so instead of closing after four seconds, the doors were closing immediately," he explained.

"That would explain the quickness of the closing — and would be a reason to take the train out of service."

Lead photo by

@areacode416ix


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