We've all seen the demo cars. They are indeed much better than the original. I like the plastic floors, fewer seats, full-length handle bars, and overall, I just like having more standing room altogether. With the recent ridership surge however, I took a much closer look today at the demo car I was in to see if it truly will make a big impact.
A few things I noticed that needs to be addressed:
1) Why are the overhead bars still so high? And if they must remain high, why only 6 hanging straps for those who are under 5'5" or 5'6" to comfortably hold on to? I am around that range and unless I'm wearing high heels (which seems to be rarer these days), I cannot comfortably hold on to the overhead bar. Yes I can over-stretch to do so but with my big computer bag, it's not the safest or most comfortable position.
We need more full length bars that run from ground to ceiling. Those are thin and don't take up much room!
2) Why are the cloth seats still around? This demo car was new but already, I saw white and yellow stains spread around the "new" seats!
3) In my opinion, still way too many seats. BART seats take up a lot of room. Why not just a single row of bench seating parallel to the windows? Or just much fewer seats all around? Like Muni trains? Keep a couple seats by the door for handicapped and maybe a couple others where it makes sense but that's all we need. In Asia, Europe, and other places I've travelled to, that's the way to do it when mass transit is THAT widely used! It's about standing room, not seating comfortably in cushioned seats. BART is past that now. With gas prices soaring and most of the Bay Area population being so green-conscious, BART needs to serve its purpose well.
Max capacity standing room only trains sometime get so crowded that you are practically attached full body to the person in front and in back of you. Something needs to be done.
Other thoughts on this?