BART customers who responded to a survey overwhelmingly prefer the new vinyl seat covers on trains compared to the fabric seats, validating the decision to outfit 100 more train cars with the easier-to-clean material. A random sample of more than 1,200 customers found that three-quarters prefer the new seat covers, and 93% rate them as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” When asked if BART should change out more seat covers because the vinyl is easier to clean, 90% responded favorably.
A Nifty Fifty and More on the Way
More than 50 cars have been converted to the new seat covers and BART expects to increase that number to 100 by the end of July. By early next year, 200 train cars should have the new seat covers. If customer feedback continues to be positive, an additional 100 cars will be changed out. Customers can conduct their own “tush test” by looking for a train car with the “New Seats on Board” decal near the door. Cars with the new seats include posters that give customers directions on how to provide feedback.
Longer Life, Lower Cleaning Cost
The new seats are 100% American made and are expected to last seven to 10 years compared to the 3-year life expectancy of the fabric seats. The cost of installing vinyl seats in 200 cars is about $1.9 million, but in addition to being a hit with customers, the new seats will help BART reduce the $600,000 yearly dry cleaning costs required by the fabric seats.
Download the survey report (.pdf) for the full results and more information about the vinyl seats.