Call it the space race: as riders get bigger and fatter, railroads are forced to factor in larger seat space to their designs for new cars. (The airlines conveniently overlook America’s expanding derriere volume.)
New Jersey Transit plans to add 2.2 inches to its current 17.55 inch seats as it designs a batch of new double decker trains, reports the NY Times.
The problem of American waists that are too big for seats meant to accommodate them is certainly not new. Today, everything from love seats to toilet seats can be built bigger to accommodate wider profiles, and the seats offered on public transportation are no different.
Each time an agency decides to purchase new trains or buses, it must consider whether to make its seats wider, knowing that a decision to do so could come at the expense of passenger capacity.
Amtrak is also adding larger seat space to its new trains.
The NYC subways, Metro-North and LIRR, on the other hand, are holding the line on slimmer seating.
Reports the Times:
The Metro-North and Long Island railroads are expected to request bids for a new fleet of M-9 train cars next month. In their preliminary proposal, the railroads have asked for double seats that can handle a 400-pound load, but they did not change their seat width.
Cesar Vergara, an industrial designer who worked with Metro-North on its M-8 cars and whose plans will remain the same for the new bid, said the 58-inch-wide three-seaters have middle seats designed to look larger.
“The seats were sewn so that the center part looks a little wider and more appealing,” Mr. Vergara said.
[image: NY Times]