The sidedoors on muni buses have a quirky rule. To get out, you need to step down and push on the door. The door doesn’t have a button, handle, or anything else to indicate you should push it to open.
There’s also a light on top of the door. If it’s on, you can push it open. If not, you can’t. Not so clear.
Everyday, sometimes multiple times per bus ride, someone doesn’t know how to open the door. That person yells, “back door!”
Someone else responds, “push it with your hand!”
The person pushes it with his/her hand, the door opens and he/she walk out embarrassed. But, that’s the best case scenario. Last week, an old woman panicked and banged on the door, like a kid throwing a tantrum.
Why does muni do this?
They want riders to board from the front door to make sure they pay for their tickets. Good intentions, but not effective. People have to exit from the sidedoor. When it opens, people walk in anway.
Change the system – Add a button, a leaver or something. People understand buttons and leavers.
Change the signage – 1. If light is on (have a big arrow to the light); 2. Push to open.
Small design changes have tremendous repercussions in stress and wasted time for years to come. Design responsibly.