BART invites riders to test Fleet of the Future seats for another round


BART invites riders to test Fleet of the Future seats for another round

BART's Fleet of the Future project to replace its aging train cars is moving to a new phase this week as the public gets another chance to try out realistic prototypes of seats provided by the train car manufacturer.

BART has begun and will be hosting nine events at stations throughout the Bay Area where participants will get to try three different train car seats and then fill out a survey to record their assessment of seat comfort.  The seats will have three different cushion densities- soft, medium, and firm- but all will have easy to clean surfaces, silicone cushions that have a long life and retain shape over time, will be made with 74% recyclable materials and will be lightweight to reduce energy needed to move the train.  

The first three events were held:

  • October 7th at Union City Station (3 pm to 7 pm)
  • October 8th at Pittsburg/Bay Point Station (3 pm to 7 pm)
  • October 9th at Downtown Berkeley Station (10 am to 6 pm)

Three additional events will be held at the following stations this week:

  •   October 29th at West Dublin/Pleasanton Station 3 pm – 7 pm
  •  October 30th  at Pleasant Hill Contra Costa Centre Station 1 pm – 7 pm
  •  November 1st at Lake Merritt Station Plaza 3 pm – 7 pm

And finally, three others will be held at the following stations at dates to be announced later:

  • Balboa Park
  • El Cerrito del Norte
  • Powell Street 

Two years ago in the spring of 2011, thousands of visitors toured a series of “seat labs” to give initial feedback. Those seats, however, were modified seats from the old BART cars and seats on loan from transit agencies around the nation, such as systems in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. There were hard plastic seats, cushioned seats, vinyl seats, cloth seats, arm rests, no arm rests, and a multitude of other factors to rate.

The difference this time is that the process has moved along much closer to the finish line for a decision on the seats. 

BART currently operates with the oldest fleet of train cars in the nation and has prioritized the replacement of the fleet with the hope of expanding from 669 train cars to 1000 new cars to meet growing demand.  If BART can secure the funding to expand to 1,000 new cars, it would increase the total number of seats in the fleet by around 40%.

The entire Fleet of the Future project, spanning more than a decade, will result in trains with a number of improvements, in areas ranging from propulsion systems to passenger information displays, from noise reduction to better climate control.  Over 15,000 residents have provided input on the design of the future BART train cars, including 5,000 visitors who tested out a preliminary train model at MacArthur station in July.

To be notified of future events and other project news, sign up to receive information at the Fleet of the Future website,