THE LOOP — After drawing mixed reviews for trains with "New York"-style seating, the CTA unveiled designs for the next generation of "L" cars that it hopes will minimize issues for standing and seated passengers alike.
The new trains would have the same amount of seats as the oft-criticized "New York"-style trains — 38.
But the new layout offers a blend of the traditional layout, with double-seats facing the front and back of the train, and New York-style seats facing the center aisle. The latter seats have bugged riders who have to do more shoulder-rubbing and crotch-staring than in the old cars.
"This design is the hybrid of the best features of the existing CTA car styles," said CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski.
In April, the CTA asked commuters to fill out an online survey about how they sit, stand and enter the "L."
The agency combined those results with its own study, and came up with designs that take cues from familiar layouts.
By January, the CTA is expected to select a manufacturer to build up to 846 cars at a cost of nearly $2 billion. The first set of cars expected to be delivered around 2016.
In the new layout, the front of all cars would have aisle-facing "New York-style" seating that would make it easier for people to stand.
The middle of the cars would be much like cars currently on the Brown and Orange lines with a mishmash of single- and double-seats facing every direction. Such a configuration would allow more passengers to stand, the agency says.
The rear of the cars would be the traditional double-seat, forward-facing format that the agency says would not impede passenger flow.
The car layout also makes room for wheelchair-bound passengers and for poles and straps for standing commuters.
In all, the new design would have seating for 38 people, compared with a max of 46 in older cars that the CTA used before rolling out the "New York style."
"After careful study, the CTA believes the proposed seating design will provide customers with an optimal car that is comfortable, smooth and reliable for passengers, while maximizing passenger flow and capacity," CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a statement.