Track info to disappear 1 minute before departure

Measure seen as way to improve passenger safety

SOUTH STATION commuters who leave themselves little time to get to their platforms may soon need to change their habits or risk missing their trains altogether.

Starting on March 18, display boards inside South Station will remove track information for trains one minute before their scheduled departures. Any passenger who arrives within that range will not be able to determine from the signs where an imminently leaving train is boarding.

All signs except displays on tracks themselves will be affected.

Commuter rail officials said the change will “further improve passenger safety” and prevent delayed departures.

“If a passenger is at these display boards they cannot reasonably reach the train in 60 seconds,” Keolis spokesman Tory Mazzola said in an email. “In the past, passengers would run to catch a train and in many cases attempt to board a train already departing — a moving train. Injuries have occurred on several occasions, and this initiative aims to prevent these passenger injuries as much as possible.”

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Chris Lisinski

Reporter, State House News Service
Mazzola said Keolis, which is contracted to operate the commuter rail, has used a similar display-board approach in place on other networks that it runs “with success.” The strategy appears to be new for the MBTA.

The practice will start at South Station, and Keolis and the MBTA will review its success before considering expansion to North Station or other major stops.