I know what this is for. Admittedly, it’s not quite what everybody thinks it’s for. However I refuse to believe that the situation is shrouded in so much mystery that people can misinterpret what is going on.
Yes, it’s a button (and it’s found inside carriages on the London Underground, handily adjacent to the doors), and as long as you don’t put up an “improper use” notice people will happily push buttons just for the sheer joy of it (as previously reported, this is known as “frobnicating”). Some people seem to think that the more often you push a button, the more chance you’ve got of achieving your outcome (for example at lifts, and pedestrian crossings).
Maybe it’s just intolerance on my part – on the Paris Metro the doors are individually controlled. It’s not so much the button pushing that gets to me – it’s the impatient repeated stabbing before the train’s stopped moving. If the button really *did* work, would these people really want the doors to fly open whilst we’re still hurtling along?
The correct answer, by the way, is that the doors operate in 2 modes (individual, or driver-controlled), and by and large the default is the latter. The only time in 5 years I’ve ever seen it switched over is when it’s hissing down with rain and the platform is one of the above-ground sections which doesn’t have shelter, as there’s no point in pelting all of the passengers with weather if there’s nobody wanting to get on the thing. Of course this mode only comes into play if the driver’s not a total cock.
Nope, no humorous observations here as it turns out. Just old fashioned straight out whinging.