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NYC Transit planning to experiment with seatless subway cars at rush hour

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

 

Saturday, August 2nd 2008, 4:00 AM

 

 

Tama/Getty

 

Rush hour will mean more riders but no more seats on some subway train cars under a pilot program.

It will be standing room only - literally - when NYC Transit runs some subway cars without any seats, hoping to squeeze more riders inside.

 

The agency is planning a pilot program featuring a train with flipup seats in four of 10 cars.

 

The flipup seats will be locked in the up position during rush hours, meaning everyone inside the car will have to stand, the Daily News has learned.

 

"Each car will be able to carry more people," NYC Transit President Howard Roberts said of the no-sitting strategy. "It means more capacity. It gives the ability to pick up more people, and have fewer people left on the platform waiting for the next train."

 

After rush hours, workers will unlock the flipup seats for riders to use, Roberts said.

 

The pilot program, hatched by Roberts and his senior vice president of subways, Steven Fiel, is expected to start in five to seven months, when the first retrofitted train arrives.

 

Subway bosses have not decided which line will get the no-seat cars - or when they might go into wider use.

 

Some riders said they would welcome the plan with open arms - because 18% more passengers would be able to get inside.

 

"Most people stand anyway," said Kathleen Sia, 19, a college student from Washington Heights. "I'd rather be on time than be comfortable."

 

"It's totally worth it," added John Holton, 37, of the upper West Side. "I am on the train to get somewhere, not to sit around."

 

But not everyone was on board.

 

"I understand why they are doing it, but I don't think it will be popular with riders," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

 

The biggest complaints may come from riders who board a near-empty train at the first stops, only to find they have to stand, Russianoff predicted.

 

The move comes as the agency tries to grapple with several challenging realities.

 

On several lines, the agency can't run more trains per hour safely because of the current signal system's limitations.

 

The agency faces huge budget gaps and long-term solutions like upgraded signal and communications systems are extremely expensive.

 

Ridership continues to rise - along with delays spawned by frustrated riders trying to squeeze into packed trains.

 

The tactic of having some cars without seating during peak travel times has been used on some aboveground trains in Tokyo since 1990, but is not in use in the United States.

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They had a whole discussion on this over at RD...

Sure, try it. Leave a few wheelchair accesible seats, or maybe some priority seating. I remember there was a picture posted at subchat of a 6-door, fold-up seat subway car. That's what I'm talking about! lol

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A train car with no seats. That's more room for people in the train car. I say yes to this because people constantly fight for seats during rush hours, the (D)(Q) have instances where people fight for seats. Hope this plan goes through, but then again, elderly people and people with heavy baggage won't be too thrilled. I don't know about this....

Edited by MattTrain

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I think they should do this for the middle cars (4 cars) only, since they're usually the most crowded.

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Actually, it would work best IMO if the cars are kept consistent (i.e., cars, 2, 4, 7, and 9, or the cab cars)...so that those UNABLE to stand for long periods can actually know where to board.

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I would have the cars marked really well if they did that to make them "stand" out. I for one like to sit down sometimes but not all the time and if my knees are sore or my girlfriend or i are tired i wanna be able to sit down.

 

- Andy

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i wonder which cars they are gonna do this on. and routes.
Something tells me they are going to do it on the (2) and (4) trains.

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It's only gonna be one trainset. Something's telling me (4)(5) or (6)<6>. And I'd say have the cab cars have fixed seating and the rest flipup. But like Metsfan said, mark them really well and have station signage to direct people to those cars.

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It's only gonna be one trainset. Something's telling me (4)(5) or (6)<6>. And I'd say have the cab cars have fixed seating and the rest flipup. But like Metsfan said, mark them really well and have station signage to direct people to those cars.
Yeah the Lexington Avenue lines are no joke! I sometimes wait for 2-4 trains to pass by just so I can fit in, excluding the times when the R142s broke down on me while I was waiting for one...

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The problem with seatless cars is that with congestion what it is particularly on Lex it will make entry/exit very difficult unless you're near the door which is of course where the geese will bunch...

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The problem with seatless cars is that with congestion what it is particularly on Lex it will make entry/exit very difficult unless you're near the door which is of course where the geese will bunch...

 

People should move from back to front, exiting at the front, entering at the back, this way no one gets stuck.

 

- Andy

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The problem with seatless cars is that with congestion what it is particularly on Lex it will make entry/exit very difficult unless you're near the door which is of course where the geese will bunch...

 

That is what I was going to get at. More people = longer dwell times, as extra people getting on, means extra people getting off, which = longer station dwell times....

 

People should move from back to front, exiting at the front, entering at the back, this way no one gets stuck.

 

- Andy

 

It's extremely difficult to do, when a train is crush loaded. By the time you get in a fight pushing your way through, the doors would have closed.....

 

 

This will get more people on, but will ultimately make trains later, and your ride longer. To every upside, their is a downside.....

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That is what I was going to get at. More people = longer dwell times, as extra people getting on, means extra people getting off, which = longer station dwell times....

 

 

 

It's extremely difficult to do, when a train is crush loaded. By the time you get in a fight pushing your way through, the doors would have closed.....

 

 

This will get more people on, but will ultimately make trains later, and your ride longer. To every upside, their is a downside.....

 

Actually if people let folks off first it shouldn't be an issue, because when i try to get out from the middle of 2 doors i find its people siting down's knees bags and such in the way vs people standing up, you can always squeeze past those folks, but you dont want to crush someone's bag sitting on the floor between their feet.

 

- Andy

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Actually if people let folks off first it shouldn't be an issue, because when i try to get out from the middle of 2 doors i find its people siting down's knees bags and such in the way vs people standing up, you can always squeeze past those folks, but you dont want to crush someone's bag sitting on the floor between their feet.

 

- Andy

 

There are some stops where you will get alot of people on, and few will get off at the next one. Even if people wait for those who wish to exit, they still have to get on after. Either way, more people = longer dwell times. There is no way around that........

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There are some stops where you will get alot of people on, and few will get off at the next one. Even if people wait for those who wish to exit, they still have to get on after. Either way, more people = longer dwell times. There is no way around that........

 

Indeed. :D

 

- Andy

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