Over the years there have been many iterations of these standing passenger handles. Each time trying to get it right. The ones shown above were the last iteration which are currently on Sydney’s newest trains.
They look kinda cool, and looking at the next photo, they appear to have the right angle, ergonomically.
But unlike previous ‘strap’ handles, these “ergonomic” handles require you to use your thumb and almost every finger. If you don’t use your thumb, whoops, see you later.
Also, if you are falling, there is no second chance. Either you grab it, or you don’t. There is no chance of hooking any finger… bye bye. You also need to use more strength, as you are relying on your gripping strength.
The next photo shows an older ‘strap’ handle. You can see the thumb is not required at all, nor are all of the fingers, two fingers would still work, even one I dare say. You can relax, and just hang on these, strength required is minimised. And I don’t see any ergonomic issues with this angle either.
Newer doesn’t necessarily mean better.
So what happened here? Was there a patent/licencing issue? Or was it just a case of “we have a new train so we need new handles” regardless if they are worse than the previous? Most likely an ego issue here.
What ever it was, we now have a problem. And with that comes opportunity.
But sometimes the opportunity is an opportunity to acknowledge a mistake was made. Sometimes the opportunity is an opportunity to go back to what worked.
Now if the previous solution had a problem, well then that needs to be re-addressed, correctly this time.
Note: This article was originally posted on Medium by CitizenRod.