Thursday, May 11, 2006

No More Carpets and Cushions for Metro?

The Washington Post reports that the Metro's new interim general manager, Dan Tangherlini, wants to get rid of or find cheaper substitutes for carpets and seat cushions on Metro trains. Other than describing his positions and describing the cleaning, maintenance, and cushion manufacturing processes in detail, there are a few interesting points:

Metro is one of a few major transit systems in the country to have cushions and carpet. They were luxurious touches included in the system's original design more than three decades ago to lure suburbanites out of their cars.

But now, Metro is the nation's second-busiest subway system...

So it worked?

As for the carpets:

Riders, brace yourselves: Metro may go vinyl. The agency will test a slip-resistant vinyl flooring this summer -- in one pair of cars. No sense rushing out of the lap of luxury. "Maybe there's some room for experimenting," Tangherlini said recently while riding the Red Line. He's also open to cushion alternatives, but because Metro riders seem more wedded to the padding for their posteriors, there aren't any experiments in the works.

The carpet question, though, has come up often. Metro Board member Chris Zimmerman, who represents Arlington County, recalled that the board was always told that carpet was cheapest. It will be interesting to see, he said, if Tangherlini "comes up with the same answer."


Carpet absorbs road noise [and] water, which can damage a car's substructure and affect operation.

And carpet helps prevent slips, especially in winter. It is interesting that getting rid of the carpets has been considered and rejected before. As you may recall, Mr. Tangherlini also recently said that the Metro system has plenty of revenue, but a lack of funding. That report is enough to make me doubt him now.

I've spent enough commutes standing up that I don't really care what they do with the cushions - but they're not that extravagant and their cost is probably insignificant.

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1 comment:

April said...

There is padding on the seats?? I never noticed.

Oh, but I do know the floor does absorb vomit.