More bad news on seating

We have known for years that the new CTA railcars would have longitudinal seating.  Not particularly comfortable, but allegedly provides more standing room, and more wheelchair space.  A few new cars are now on the property and undergoing testing, so now we know that:

  • the new seats are the  regular substandard width, contoured kind, probably the least comfortable for bench seats;
  • the design fails to efficiently use even the limited space available.

Regarding the latter point, if there is, say, an extra six inches in the space occupied by a row of, say, five seats, it is physically possible to space them an extra 1.5″ apart, providing a bit more space.  In fact, some CTA buses implement this concept on the rear bench.  But not the railcars.  The first pic illustrates this.
making a bad situation worse

One wonders what is expected to happen in the several extra inches at the end of the car.

Below are a couple more pics. These were taken yesterday at Howard, where a test train paused briefly at the platform. Sorry about the poor quality (of the images); they were taken thru thehigh-reflectivity glass used on these cars.

what your tax money buys
your tax dollars

Even if they operate well (of which there is no guarantee), it is evident that these are the most uncomfortable cars yet.  Unfortunately, the same has been said about every car order since at least 1972, and it is all too likely that captive riders will become accustomed, and the few noncaptives will depart.  (Or be made captive by decreasing incomes and increasing parking costs).

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3 Responses to “More bad news on seating”

  1. Eugene King says:

    How can the taxpaying public influence the purchases of CTA buses and trains to prevent this nonsense from reoccurring?

    Gene King

  2. Interurbans says:

    It appears that the CTA wants to reduce ridership to cut cost. This is a very good way to do this. As automobiles get more luxurious and make for a better overall experience of driving the CTA is doing just the opposite by making the overall experience of riding the el more unpleasant with each new car type and the 5000’s with their terrible seating is sure to drive more CTA riders to driving. The question is, is this intentional or just stupidity?

  3. David says:

    Well, there’s certainly at least -some- value in the increased standing capacity during rush hour, given that people get left behind on the platforms due to the system being over capacity. But at all other times the lack of transverse seating will definitely be a minus in the rider experience.

    Hopefully these just represent the prototype cars, and CTA will look at customer feedback and tweak the final layout accordingly. I would think a decent compromise would be longitudinal seating through the middle of the railcar (between the doors) and than transverse on the ends… or vice versa.

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