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November 22, 2011 > BART approves trial of vinyl seat covers

BART approves trial of vinyl seat covers

Submitted By BART

The BART Board voted unanimously on November 17, 2011, to fund a trial of easier-to-clean vinyl, cushioned seat covers to replace the fabric seats in 100 train cars and authorized the General Manager to award a contract for $1,945,234 with an option to purchase seats for another 100 cars.

"The fabric seats were viable when BART entered service in 1972 but we now carry 370,000 passengers each weekday," said BART General Manager Grace Crunican. "This trial will give customers and BART staff a chance to see if vinyl, cushioned seats strike a balance between cleanliness and comfort - an important consideration as we move toward replacing our rolling stock, the oldest in the nation, with the Fleet of the Future."

During a series of seat labs earlier this year, BART staff collected hundreds of public comments about features riders would like on seating. BART's research identified Prevail, a product made specifically for mass transit by Omnova; it meets customers' expectations and addresses the agency's standards for durability, safety and environmental properties.

"Previously, we didn't use vinyl seat material because of smoke, fire and toxicity standards; however, technology has changed," said BART's Assistant General Manager of Operations Paul Oversier. "Just as important is BART's sustainability standard. Omnova has distinguished itself as a leader in 'end of life' strategies for its product. When the material is no longer useful, instead of disposing of it in landfill, this company will reclaim the vinyl for other purposes."

BART will begin replacing seats in 100 cars in spring 2012 and survey customer reaction. If riders like the new seats, the contract can be expanded to include another 100 cars.

For more information about the seat trial, visit

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