One look at the redesigned El cars, and you knew how wrong they were.
But the CTA didn’t see any problem and ordered a bunch.
One look at the proposed Belmont Flyover, and it’s clear what a bad plan it is. Here’s hoping they think twice this time.
CTA Rounding the Curve Slowly on Next Rail Car Purchase
Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune, 4/26/2015
“The strategy was to cram more riders onto each rail car, reduce the amount of time that trains are stopped at stations and operate more peak-hour train runs through the Loop “L” structure.”
“None of those goals has been achieved, according to the CTA study.”
excerpt from the article:
As the CTA moves cautiously toward a decision on its next-generation rail cars, a study published in a national research journal presents a painstakingly detailed account of how the transit agency went off the tracks when it selected the aisle-facing seat design on the 5000 Series.
The study titled “Is This Seat Taken?” was conducted by two CTA planning and market research employees. They questioned CTA estimates and assumptions that longitudinal aisle-facing seating would increase passenger capacity on each car.
As many riders will attest, a common scene on the new 5000 Series rail cars is that hardly anybody uses the seat between two seated passengers on the aisle-facing seats, because riders would be uncomfortably squeezed shoulder to shoulder and thigh to thigh. Another complaint is that the sight line outside the window on the opposite side of the car is often blocked by standing passengers, whose midsections are eye-level to seated passengers.
The 5000 Series cars have been phased in since 2011, under decisions set in motion by Frank Kruesi, who was CTA president for 91/2 years during the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley. The aisle-facing longitudinal scoop seats, which represent about 90 percent of the 38 seats in each 5000 Series car, broke the modern-day CTA tradition of having mostly forward- and- rear-facing seats. The strategy was to cram more riders onto each rail car, reduce the amount of time that trains are stopped at stations and operate more peak-hour train runs through the Loop “L” structure.
None of those goals has been achieved, according to the CTA study by Tara O’Malley, CTA coordinator of market research, and Maulik Vaishnav, a CTA resource planner. Their study was published earlier this year by the Washington-based Transportation Research Board, which promotes innovation in transportation through research and also provides advice on transportation policy.
During a series of counts made on CTA trains, the maximum passenger loading observed averaged 101 passengers on a 5000 Series rail car, lower than a projection of 106 to 134 passengers per car, the study found.
Meanwhile, the maximum passenger loading observed fell on the high end of expectations on two earlier models of CTA rail cars, the 2400/2600 Series and the roughly 20-year-old 3200 Series, the latter of which is being overhauled and is scheduled to remain in service on the Brown and Orange lines until at least the early 2020s.