Communication on the Rails: Zone 2

On the loading side of each platform, there are three different zones that can be filled by a monorail cast member. Zone 2 specifically requires much communication. While I am in Zone 2, I must be able to communicate with the driver of the train, platform greeter, and guests simultaneously.

The most important part of Zone 2 is being able to communicate properly and respectfully with disabled guests. Zone 2 is responsible for escorting disabled guests to the designated gates for wheelchairs (which cast members refer to as “door assists” or simply “assists” to make the guest feel more comfortable). As soon as the platform greeter notices an assist coming up the loading ramp, they inform me. I then clear room for the chair if there are other guests in the way of the designated gate. When the guest using an assist arrives, I escort them to the gate. Once the train arrives in the station, I am able to pull out a portable ramp, therefore the guest can easily board the monorail.

If I am in the Zone 2 position on the Resort monorail side, extra communication with guests using assists is required. Before the monorail train arrives, I must casually strike up a conversation with the guest about their vacation. From this conversation, I must learn where the guest is going, since the resort monorail makes stops at the Magic Kingdom (where I am normally located), Contemporary Resort, Transportation and Ticket Center, Polynesian Resort, and Grand Floridian Resort. If the guest informs me that they are going the the Contemporary Resort, I push a button on the monorail train with the letter “C”. The button then turns a solid red color.When the guest arrives at the Contemporary, the button will violently flash red, and the monorail platform cast member working at the Contemporary will know that the guest using an assist needs a ramp to get off at that location. If I am Zone 2 loading on the Express side, the monorail only stops at the Transportation and Ticket Center from the Magic Kingdom. Therefore, I do not have to ask the guest where they are going. As a general rule, we only load cars three and four (the middle) with door assists.

monorail-op-ramp
In the above photograph, a Zone 2 cast member is loading an assist with a portable ramp in the appropriate car (as noted by the handicap logos on the gates). On the side where the cast member’s head is located, there is a button that the cast member will press for the guest’s location. (via disboards.com)

Another important job of Zone 2 is to give the “all clear” signal to the driver. Zone 2 closes the doors when all guests are inside the train and notifies the driver when the platform is clear for him/her to leave. If Zone 2 is busy with door assists, Zones 1, 3, or the greeter can give the driver hand signals for dispatch.

Zone 2 must be aware of all guests in wheelchairs and their surroundings. If a guest cannot fit into a car with an assist, it is my job to find another area to load him/her or politely have him/her wait for the next train. While I am assisting guests in my area, I must also make sure guests in surrounding zones are boarding quickly and carefully in order to clear the train for movement. Even when a train is not in the station, I must be ready to de-energize the beam for any guest safety issues. Zone 2 requires communication from all aspects of the monorail operations position.

 

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