May 10, 2011 > Fleet of the Future
Fleet of the Future
Have your say about the design of new BART passenger trains
Submitted By BART
The public has had its first look at an interactive seat lab where riders can give feedback on what they would like to see in new BART train cars. This is part of the research for the Fleet of the Future, the long-range project to replace BART's aging train cars, the oldest in the nation.
"This as a fantastic opportunity to look at a number of different designs," said Janet Abelson, chair of BART's Accessibility Task Force. "It's been a long time since BART has had an opportunity to update and upgrade the seating."
April 25 and 26 saw the first round of public input from elected officials and special needs groups such as senior citizens and riders with disabilities. Now, a mobile version of the seat lab has hit the road for a series of nine pubic meetings - one in every BART District. The first was on Sunday, May 1, at Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland.
"Everybody should visit, sit in the seats, assess the leg room, see the new design of the customer-friendly train that BART is trying to put together," said Richmond Councilman Courtland "Corky" Booze.
According to Booze, some of his constituents have expressed concern about maintaining cleanliness of upholstery and bars and poles to provide stability for senior citizens and others who may need such assistance.
At 22 inches, BART's seats are among the widest of any transit agency in the world. For some people, a 17.5-inch-wide seat is uncomfortable. Although seated, travel for two well-built individuals, next to each other, would also prove uncomfortable.
"I understand there'll be electronic signage and TV-style monitors to display information that I'm keen for BART to caption; it would be tremendous if they could also translate the information to American Sign Language," said Linda Drattell, a support specialist with the Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency when she toured the lab, which seeks feedback not only on seating but also about other features, such as passenger information.
BART is collecting surveys from all who visit the seat lab and will use the feedback to guide design of the new passenger cars.
The schedule of upcoming meetings has yet to be finalized and will be posted at www.bart.gov/cars where the public can also access an email form to submit feedback and register to receive news about the Fleet of the Future Project.