MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars (Big Red)

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MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars (Big Red)

Postby Ron Newman » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:35 am

in today's Herald:
T removing Red Line seats: Overcrowded riders will have a cow
By Hillary Chabot | Thursday, December 4, 2008

Red Line riders will be packed like cattle starting Monday as part of an MBTA plan to herd more passengers into already crowded cars by ripping out seats in the region’s overloaded subway system, the Herald has learned.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will run Red Line trains with two retrofitted cars that will leave only four seats on each for elderly and disabled users, according to a state official briefed on the plan.

The move, which will be discussed at today’s MBTA board meeting, will cut seating by half on some trains, which usually have four to six cars.

“Obviously people who want to sit down will have to find another car,” said the state official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan had not been formally announced.

“These cars will be clearly marked and the T is prepared to undergo a publicity campaign,” the official added.

The middle two cars on the busy North-South line will be transformed into so-called “high capacity cars” meant to be used during rush hour to cram roughly 27 more people aboard. The official was unsure if seats would be restored during lighter commuter periods on the trains, which run from Cambridge to either Dorchester or Braintree.

A train attendant will let riders know some cars don’t have seats and the cars will have special posters alerting passengers, according the official.

The pilot program follows an unpopular $2 hike in commuter rail parking lots statewide and a push for a subway fare increase to bail out the embattled agency, which is burdened by $8.2 billion in debt and interest payments.

MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas also handed out a 9 percent raise to top-level staffers in August, only to rescind the raises at the request of Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen.

Ridership on the T skyrocketed this year when the cost of gas surpassed $4 a gallon. Grabauskas has made other changes to accommodate the surge, such as increasing the number of buses and train cars. Ridership in August surged 2.3 percent past the number of riders in August 2007.

Commuters will be encouraged to weigh in on whether MBTA officials should fold or expand the program, according to the official.

The program is fashioned after ones in other cities such as New York that implemented seatless sections in four of 10 subway cars last summer. After rush hour, workers simply unlock flipup seats for riders to use.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby Disney Guy » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:56 am

Note that if the middle cars of a 6 car train are seatless then more uncoupling and coupling is needed to remove those cars for non-rush hours.

With only 4 seats in the car, more people will feel guilty about taking those seats when someone who is more infirm is nearby.

>>> “Obviously people who want to sit down will have to find another car,”
Today, if you are getting on at some stations the chances of finding a seat are almost nil and you have to find another train possibly hours later.
(To the theater stage manager) Quit twiddling the knob and flickering the lights while the audience is entering and being seated. (To the subway motorman) Quit twiddling the knob and dinging the doors while passengers are getting off and others are waiting to board.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby Ron Newman » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:12 am

I hope these are train sets that are only used during rush hours and are taken out of service at other times.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby Stmtrolleyguy » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:36 am

On one hand, I don't like this idea because it will impossible to ride sitting down.
On the other hand, it will be nice being able to stand up (hopefully) without having to worry about tripping over someone else who is sitting down.
I don't particularly like riding standing up, but it stinks when you're leaning over someone with a huge bag, or crammed around the feet of someone sitting down while trying to reach something to hold on to. If I have to stand, I'd almost rather have a car with no seats.

I also don't see how they're adding in only another 27 people to the trains capacity - there's at least 27 seats that they'd be removing per car, and I could easily see the train capacity jumping up by 50-75 people total.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby rethcir » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:18 am

Not a bad idea IMO.. Sitting during rush hour is no fun anyway. Who wants to stare at someone's crotch/backside for half an hour? My red line commute always reminded me of the line from Synchronicity II by the police: "Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes."

Whether the general public will empathize is a different story. Could the seats maybe be converted to flip up and lock?
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby -Garrett » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:28 am

THIS IS A COLOSOLLY BAD IDEA. THE MBTA IS ALREADY OVERCROWDED, and this will make it worse.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:45 am

I had always wished they would do this for the Green Line. If they had a few trolleys with this set up for the Red Sox season maybe it would not be as slow and crowded. They could be some type of crowed swallower.

Just a thought.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:58 pm

The next step in increasing capacity should be to encourage small people to ride piggyback on the shoulders of larger people, thus improving the utilization of floor space.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby Wally1912 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:38 pm

Here is the Globe's take on this development.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/12/mbta_to_experim.html
MBTA to experiment with nearly seatless subway cars

Image

December 4, 2008 12:44 PM

What to expect on one of the Red Line's "Big Red" cars.

By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff

With more riders flocking to the MBTA, the public transit agency has decided to experiment with making two Red Line cars roomier by removing most of their seats.

The modified cars, which will be dubbed “Big Red” cars, will be used on one of 28 six-car rush hour trains during the pilot program, which begins Monday.

The cars will have only two seats and added handrails. Surveys will be available in the car to see if people feel not having a place to sit is worth getting onto the train; surveys will also be posted online. The program is modeled on similar efforts in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City.

“What we’re looking for is feedback from our customers,” said Daniel Grabauskas, the MBTA general manager. “I don’t think we’d ever eliminate all seats on an entire train.”

The modified cars will provide space for at least 27 additional customers, or about a 10 percent increase in capacity, Grabauskas said.

The number of weekday MBTA passengers grew 5.5 percent in October compared with the same month last year, continuing a trend towards more usage of public transit that started at the beginning of this year, the Globe reported today.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby sery2831 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:52 pm

Channel 7 had the story on it today, and showed car 01802 as being modified. The outside of the car is labeled "Big Red". I think this a bad idea and not really well thought out. They need to add standee poles in the center of the car!!! All they have done is replace seats with a place to stand. How do you stand in the middle of the car if everyone is standing where the seats were? There won't be enough to hold onto if you pack the car, handles by the windows isn't enough. The smarter thing would have been to remove the seats on a few cars at the opposite end of the cabs. Not the entire car!
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby Gerry6309 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:05 pm

sery2831 wrote:They need to add standee poles in the center of the car!!! All they have done is replace seats with a place to stand. How do you stand in the middle of the car if everyone is standing where the seats were? There won't be enough to hold onto if you pack the car, handles by the windows isn't enough.

John:

Have you been hanging around the 01400s again? As much as I hated them, they were great standee cars.

Those poles down the center would add more capacity than the seating change!
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The next stop is Washington. Change for Forest Hills Trains on the Winter St. Platform, and Everett Trains on the Summer St. Platform. This is an Ashmont train, change for Braintree at Columbia.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby dieciduej » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:32 pm

By removing the seats it cuts down on replacing the present seat cover material with the more expensive graffiti-proof type. Hell it just saves money... Until the first accidental fall and legal action.

Full disclosure I stand more that sit.

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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby sery2831 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:41 pm

Gerry6309 wrote: John:

Have you been hanging around the 01400s again? As much as I hated them, they were great standee cars.

Those poles down the center would add more capacity than the seating change!


Ha :-) I wish. I think Montreal figured out how to deal with standees. They have these new poles in the cars,( http://sery2831.smugmug.com/gallery/222 ... NHtHv-L-LB ) the only issue I have with them is that they are at the doors! That encourages people to stand in the door ways unfortunately, if Boston was to use these poles in the center of the Red Line cars it would help tremendously.
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby Gerry6309 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:19 pm

Putting the handholds in the door opening works in Montreal for two reasons. One, the cars are narrower than Red Line Cars. Two, there is nothing to hang onto or lean against near the doors themselves. Therefore you either have good balance - or move away from the doors. We make it too easy to occupy that space!
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Re: MBTA to remove seats from Red Line cars

Postby jck » Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:48 pm

I almost always stand, so I'm not opposed to the idea, but I think they should have redesigned the car with a new set of poles.

Move the poles away from the entrances (which causes people to stand in the doors and block boarding/exiting passengers).
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