Some transit agencies are accommodating the bigger-butt riders

New Jersey Transit plans to add 2.2 inches to the width of its seats in double-decker train cars over the next three years.

And Amtrak plans to change design on dining car seating to accommodate the wider commuters of today. A New York Times story last week recapped these developments. “It’s clear that the U.S. population is getting heavier,” said Martin Schroeder, chief engineer for the American Public Transport Association. “We are trying to get our hands on that and figure out what is the best average weight to use.”

Meanwhile, the CTA has ordered more than 700 new rail cars with the same current tight seat width. And the new seats are longitudinal – they face the aisle. Since the seats are now in a long row, there is effectively less room without the ability for your butt to hang into the aisle.

In a poll last year, 50% of CTA Tattler readers said they prefer bench seating without confining poles. But so far, the CTA is not really listening to that. In fact, they have their hands full trying to get to the bottom of the wheel housing problems of the new rail cars, as the Tribune reports today.



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  • I happened to have a tape measure with me last week & measured the seats on a New Flyer.
    The blue plastic seats are 18" wide & are mounted one inch from the sidewall of the bus.
    I'll have to measure the articulated bus seats, the ones with the supposed lumbar support, but I do know that the few front facing seats in these are right up against the sidewall of the bus which causes me to have to sit on an angle as my shoulders are too wide for what ever width the seats are.
    Even the pair of seats that are mounted over the middle set of wheels are this way & there is about two inches of wheel well that doesn't have any seat over it near the aisle.
    I also know a retired CTA bus driver that has gotten sick riding sideways & will stand if one of the front facing seats isn't available.

  • As I indicated by another analogy about a week ago, this is beating a dead horse, at least so long as CTA management has the mentality of a dead horse. Even CTA knew about the width issue when they equipped the buses.

    While this may be futile, Kevin, so long as you keep advocating removing the poles, what is the 4'10" rider supposed to do, when the assumption is that the 350 lb transvestite from the Jerry Springer Show is sitting?

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, a 4'10" rider is most likely to be female, so she and the tranny will have something common, at least. She should sit; they might have a lovely conversation.

    This isn't exactly a new problem on public transportation. What do you do when, for example, a homeless guy is sleeping across two seats? Or someone is sitting in a wide stance, or a Wide Stance (tm)? Trying to inject a little moral superiority by making it about lardos versus skinny people (with maybe a little bit of anti-gay prejudice thrown in?) does nothing to change the fundamentals of the issue.

  • In reply to darkwing:

    In your usual class baiting, you miss the real issue.

    As the cars are now configured, if the sittee won't offer the seat, the short person can hang onto the stanchion.

    If there is no stanchion, the short person gets buffeted around the car.

    Get it now?

  • In reply to jack:

    Sorry, Professor, but pointing out how ridiculous your "argument" was, is not, in fact, "class baiting". Unless you're suggesting that your unique combination of unearned hubris and atrophied critical thinking skills qualify you for a unique socioeconomic stratum?

    If you'd stop obsessing about trannies for a minute, you'd realize the problem is already solved, sans stanchion. Can you figure out what that solution is?

  • In reply to darkwing:

    Yes, Mr. everyone has a cell phone.

    CTA Management ignores Kevin and Scooter and keeps the cars as is.

    Maybe you can figure that out, too.

  • The fact that neither the CTA or Bombardier will say who the maker of the journal bearing housing is, leads me to believe it came from China. The extreme length of time this is taking also leads to that conclusion.
    I wonder if they're trying to line up a new manufacturer for them.

  • I don't appreciate your innuendo. Just because I have been putting on weight doesn't mean I am responsible for shattering the wheel housings.

  • In New Jersey, it's a tribute to the governor.

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