Test out new BART seats tonight at Fruitvale BART

23 May

BART cars are some of the oldest local transit trains in the country, and besides the fact that they’re quickly deteriorating, they’re also designed for fairly low ridership. So BART has wisely decided to replace their entire fleet and has embarked on a planning process to design better trains for the system. (Due to poor financial planning and spending so much capital funding on expensive extensions with low ridership, BART doesn’t have full funding in place for the replacement of the trains, but that’s another blog post.)

Many of the design options will be important for increasing the capacity and flow of BART trains, while also keeping them relatively comfortable. But one facet of the design has gotten increased attention recently – BART seats. I’m sure by now you’ve either read or heard about the Bay Citizen story from March, which revealed that BART seats are basically the perfect environment for bacteria growth. What you read or heard might have had you think twice about sitting on BART.

Hopefully with the new train set, you won’t have to make the decision between sitting on a bacteria-filled cushion or standing, as the plan is to replace the seats. BART is currently touring the Bay Area with a mobile seat lab to gain input from riders. They’ve come to Oakland (Fruitvale) once earlier this month and will be back tonight. From the schedule currently on BART’s website, it looks like this might be the last chance to test the seats out in Oakland.

At the mobile seat lab, you’ll be able to look at and sit in multiple types of seats BART is considering for its new cars and to provide feedback. Should the seats be fabric or plastic? How wide should they be? How should they be configured?

Check out the mobile seat lab this afternoon or evening, Monday May 23rd from 3-6:30pm at Fruitvale BART, in the Village Plaza. Can’t make it tonight? Here are some other opportunities:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 11 am – 3 pm
Los Medanos Community College, 2700 East Leland Road, Pittsburg, CA 94565. Gymnasium.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 2:30 pm – 6:30pm
Richmond BART Station, McDonald Avenue side

Wednesday, June 1, 2011, 2 pm – 6 pm
Union City BART Station, Center Access Road.

Monday, June 13, 2011, 3pm – 6:30pm
Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre BART Station, at the plaza next to fountain.

You can also weigh in online. Here’s how, via BART’s website:

  1. Sign up to receive email updates about the project so that we can keep you posted on developments and ask for your support in partnering with us on this effort. (Under “BART News” check the box next to “New Train Car Project.”)
  2. Send in your ideas for the Fleet of the Future using the comment form.  Your feedback really can make a difference!
  3. Share photos from your experiences on other transit systems – what you liked and what you didn’t about their trains. You can send them to BARTcomment@bah.com

I’m going to do my best to stop by after work and will share thoughts here if I make it.

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