The number of folks riding on the subway continues to rise and the MTA can’t actually put any more trains on the tracks because the signaling systems can’t handle it. And getting left behind on the platform at rush hour is hardly an uncommon experience. One possible solution: cars without seats.
The MTA is putting a pilot program together that will involve new cars that have flip-up seats. The seats will normally be down and available for use, but at rush hour the seats will be locked in the up position, making four of the ten cars on the train standing room only. The MTA expects that the new cars will increase capacity on those cars by 18%, which is a pretty significant jump.
This has a very high potential up-side for folks whose commute are mostly within Manhattan or just across the East River, as the time spent on the trains is relatively low. For folks trying to get to or from stops at the end of the lines, however, the prospect of standing for 60+ minutes on the ride can’t be particularly appealing. Still, with the new plan only going after four of the cars most folks will still be able to sit for the long rides. Overall, I think it is a good plan and I’m looking forward to giving the new cars a ride when they show up.
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