Take a CTA rider poll: bench or bucket seats on new rail cars?

There has been a lot of talk lately and in the last year about the seating layout of the new CTA Series 5000 rail cars. They've been riding along the Pink and Green lines for the last few months. Soon they will pop up on the Red and Purple lines.

It looks like the new aisle-facing seat configuration is here to stay on the cars. And I understand the merits of opening up the aisles to allow more room for standees, bags, bikes and strollers.

But regular readers of CTA Tattler know that I've been advocating for bench seating over the molded plastic bucket seats for awhile. With the former, riders fill the space they need rather than being shoehorned into a predetermined seat width that may not fit the needs of the average Chicago commuter.

But what do you think? Bucket or bench? The Active Transportation Alliance wants you to vote your choice in a quick poll. Take their poll by Oct. 14. They promise to share the results with CTA.

As an incentive, ActiveTrans also will enter your name in a raffle for a chance to win a free copy of the book, Carless in Chicago.

I conducted a similar poll last year. Perhaps some collective lobbying will spur some change from the CTA.


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  • I guess it's way too outside the box to suggest both seat types that alternate left and right on odd and even car pairs.

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    Sadly, the poll ignores that it needs an option to vote for proper forward-facing seats so that riders aren't always crammed against each other, staring into butts and crotches and they get slammed back and forth at every start and stop.

  • In reply to Joseph Finn:

    Get real. Forward facing seats are antiquated and a waste of valuable floor space. And if you dont want to stare are butts and crotches then dont stare at them.

  • I voted for bench seats. Have ridden them in New York and Shanghai and they are much more versatile. Riders do indeed fill the space available; the benches work especially well for kids and families, squeeze-wise.

  • Active Transit Alliance is beating a dead horse in an attempt to create a mailing list.

    The Jack Transit Alliance wants to take a poll on the following:

    Do you think Claypool and Company listen to anyone? Especially the passengers?

    []Yes, but due to an inability to appreciate the facts.

  • Bench for sure. Bucket seats do not stop people from putting their bags or coats on the seat next to them now, I don't know why this would magically change with the new side facing cars.

    Bucket seats are just limiting. Unless you are 5'6'' 130lbs, those seats are not comfortable. I'm by no means wide, but at 6'2'' and 180lbs, unless I'm crossing my legs and sitting on one butt cheek, I'm taking up room in the space next to me. If a pencil thin guy like me does, I can't imagine how someone even moderately overweight feels.

    I usually spring for a forward facing seat so I can spill into the isle or against the window, but with those options now gone in the new car, at least give me the proper amount of room to sit on, those tiny buckets worked when I was young, but they do not work for me any more.

  • I'm willing to bet that the majority of people would prefer the bench style as well. If the CTA just asked us specifically what we would prefer before they went out and bought these things, they could have saved some money. I'm sure bench seats without cloth are cheaper than the bucket with cloth, maybe not by much, but still cheaper and money that they could have saved.

  • Both! Both! Both! This is America the land of choice. Why force half the folks into a seat they don't like when there is no real reason not to provide both.

    Quit arguing with each other and argue with me.

  • I vote for the 3200-style seating.

  • Bench, I guess. Not that I have any desire to sit in a sideways seat of any kind, but in the hope that seeing actual numbers that would be accommodated in practice would prove to the CTA that their calculations of seating the same number of people as in a more rider-friendly configuration were false.

  • That's nice of Active Trans, but the CTA listens to no one. So we'll get whatever the CTA decides.

  • Off topic, but I passed Diversey today at 11:30 AM & the carpenters are there replacing the rotting platform with pressure treated yellow pine.
    That stuff usually has a 30-50 year guarantee against rot.

  • I'm not to happy with the seating at all. Seems to me that the seating is worse than before. I stand going to work and stand returning from work. Since the kids has started back to school there are no seats available for neither. Coming from the westside of Chicago, once the train reaches Austin, it's already filled. I New Train is great with the Camera, Cleaness and the LCD screen on each car.

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