MTA disabling alarms at station exits

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NEW YORK (AP) — The new year will be slightly quieter at subway stations — at least when it comes to blaring alarms on emergency exit doors.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it has disabled alarms at station emergency exits because they do little to achieve their original goal of discouraging fare evasion.

The alarms blared when straphangers opened emergency exit doors instead of filing through turnstiles. The New York Times reported Wednesday that after a nearly a decade, the sirens were shut off.

Many stations’ emergency exit sirens have been nixed, with those nearest manned station booths the top priority. Any remaining sirens will be shut off in the new year.

The authority says it’s still technically illegal to use the emergency exits except in emergencies. But the doors are used most often when stations are too crowded, or when people with boxes or strollers need a larger space to exit.

And since more than 5 million people ride the subways during the weekdays, overcrowding is more common.