Subway riders here in Washington can expect a new experience on the Metro come Christmastime. As a gift to commuters tired of packed trains, WMATA is installing longitudinal seating (examples--Chicago) which will allow more standing room and wider aisles.
For some time now, WMATA has been testing experimental designs to determine the most efficient and palatable arrangement of seating. Some faithful riders may have already noticed different designs rolling around the system. I snapped a picture of one on Thanksgiving Day (above) while returning from the National Mall with my visiting parents on the Orange Line.
According to reports on local television stations, Metro is introducing two new designs. One, like the one pictured above, will feature the "bowling alley" seating more commonly seen on New York's MTA in parts of the car. It will also feature a no-slip vinyl flooring in lieu of carpet. A second design will feature padded areas to lean against in the ends of cars.
Like all Washingtonians, I am used to the overcrowded experience that is often Metro, and I welcome these changes. It's quite a chore to fight your way off the subway with Metro's narrow aisles and shortage of standing room near the doors. I applaud Metro for taking a step in the right direction, and I look forward to the new designs.
The Washington Post, today, ran a story describing the new designs. Apparently Metro is still just in the experimental phase. I'm still holding out hope that they will decide on one and make it spread throughout the fleet. We need the space badly.
Link to a 360 degree view on the Washington Post's website: Here.