Are San Franciscans fatter than Chicagoans?

Many have complained about cattle-car conditions aboard CTA trains, exacerbated by the few, small, and uncomfortable seats. The newest 5000-series cars are probably the worst in this regard, as nearly all the seats are longitudinal, so, if you manage to snag a seat, you’re stuck in a 17.5″ space with cta-rider-bodies on each side of you.  If you’re only 17″ wide (including your arms, unless you detach those for transport), you’ll fit OK provided that you remain quite stationary. And altho the total number of seats is said to be the same as was provided in the 3200-series cars, that’s fewer than any earlier models.

Not that CTA conducted any surveys or hearings prior to deciding on this seating configuration.  For comparison, consider BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit serving north-central California. Their seats are 22″ wide.  Riders have indicated a willingness to cut that down to 20″, but no further. How does BART know this?

Because they conducted a survey. They took some seats around and asked folks what they thought. They also provide comparisons to seats in other cities, as indicated on this pdf.

Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the BART board is elected, not appointed.

Have CTA apologists anything to say here?


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