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.
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.
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).