The orlando Sentinel reported today that WDW ingored a clearly written warning in the operations Manual that the current monorails are not to be operated in reverse, even under the best of conditions.
Their response was that they had 40 years of operating experience and they evolved away from that warning and added many replacement safety features. In the same breath they also say they have reinstituted that recommended policy and now all reverse operations require a "spotter".
Appearantly this does not mean there has to be someone in the reverse nose cone, but there does have to be a spotter who will be in contact with the driver while the train is in reverse.
This includes thoses time when the train over shoots its stop by a foot or two and must back up. I did notice on my last trip, the train I was boarding pulled into the station VERY slowly, and repeated this behavior at the next station.
I still think automation would make them run better. By no means do I suggest getting rid of the pilots, they would remain and focus strickly on the safe operation of the train. A castmember who use to be a pilot has choosen to share with me that automation is something that has been considered before, and is clearly being considered again but that no decision has been made. However I don't know if that was him speculating so I am unsure of how much of his statement was true. As reasonable as this sounds, and as much as I agree with the idea, I kind of got the feeling he was speaking out of turn.
Anyway, that was the big news in Orlando/WDW today.