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New Red Line seating scrunches riders

Monday was my first experience on the Red Line’s newly configured cars. It’s an experiment by the CTA to try to give more room for standing passengers during peak travel times.

When I walked on I was somewhat disoriented at first. It was just so different. You’ll notice the main changes between the two sets of doors. That’s where almost all the seats are aligned along the windows, facing each other. This creates a wider aisle for standees. And that is a good thing.

The other big change is the proliferation of black hand straps dangling above, and more poles to hold. I do like the straps because you can sway more easily with the train’s movement.

An ad card announcing the seating experiment states that there are “39 seats, the same numbers as the Orange, Brown and Yellow line 3200 Series car.” But of course it’s a lot less than the old Red Line cars. And it’s very noticeable.

The “big” problem would be for “big” people and sitting next to them. With the new seat configuration, odds are you’ll be sitting hip-to-hip with two people -- one on either side of you. In the old two-seat configuration, you could lean out into the aisle and just half-sit on the seat if your seatmate was a little larger. No can do here.

Plus, you can hear other people’s conversation much more easily. But that’s a good thing for a guy writing the CTA Tattler!

By the way, I looked for a link to more information on the CTA’s worthless Web site, but couldn’t find any. Sorry!


I wrote the CTA with pretty much the exact same negative thoughts after riding on the "test car" one morn on my way to work on the Brown Line. I also don't dig the lack of leg room for sideways seated passengers -- I'd rather stand for a half hour than have to keep my knees bent for the whole commute.

I suspect that unless they get lots of negative feedback about the concept, they will be turning the test cars into real cars.

I think the biggest problem is that CTA cars are too small, period. The New York subway cars that run on the main Manhattan lines could hold three L cars. But obviously we're stuck with what we have, and the CTA just wants to use the space more efficiently for rush hour.

Your point about letting the CTA know how we feel is well made.

So folks, sharpen your pencils, or at least send email to the CTA at ctahelp@transitchicago.com

Thanks Steve!

Ugh! Fewer seats? Great. One of the best things about living in Uptown is having a guaranteed seat in the morning. I have yet to experience one of these new cars, but somehow I don't think I'm going to like them.

ugh.. i just finished writing about my first experience on one of those wretched cars. i hate it. i hate it.. i'll be writing to the cta for sure!

Don't like the new cars. When they start, you lurch to the side. When the stop, you lurch to the other side. Since the acceleration and deceleration is jerky throughought the ride, I would rather have the support of back of the seat. In other words, I would rather have a forward- or backward-facing seat.

For what it's worth, I do like the brown line configuration. Seems more "roomy" during rush hour, but still has mostly forward- and backward-facing seats.

I suggest someone contact the CTA trip planner website administrator and post the Chicago Card Plus rate in addition to the normal full rate (cash). All I could see is my itinerary from Bryn Mawr to Chicago Marriott Hotel (2 busses and one train itinerary) would cost me $6.00 each way. When, in fact, it would be much less ($2.00) if I use my CC+ card. It would behoove you to show the reduced rates for 2 busses and one train itinerary to promote the use of the transit card, better customer relations, and promote increased patronage. Show both rates. Keep up the good work, Mr. Ronald Huberman.

I have a sense of humor but I do not think a category link named "Scary Shit" or "Three-track Hell" sounds too professional. The image of the CTA will be effected by this --- by your patrons, businesses, and even the downstate legislators. Image is important.

I did some research on the "l" and i found out that back in the 1920s-60s, the north shore rail road and the chicago aurora and elgin road ran on the loop l and their cars measured 55'0" in length compared to the cramped 48'0" which says alot as far as ROOM goes and the TIGHT curve radius too. if cta want impress their customers this the way to go SERIOUSLY.

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