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Long loyal to cloth, Metro will test vinyl seats in some rail cars

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The new plastic seat covers will be piloted on refurbished subway cars

Metro’s Red and Purple lines are already equipped with gently scented deodorizers. Now, another measure to improve riders’ experiences is on the way. The transit agency is planning a trial run of new vinyl seat coverings on a small group of rail cars.

The Source reported Monday that 74 Red Line subway cars will be refurbished this year, and in addition to new flooring and lighting, they will be outfitted with new seats.

The Source’s Steve Hymon tells Curbed that the vinyl seats will be tested out only on these refurbished train cars, “to see how they perform and are received.”

A new video shows off the interiors of a few of the cars mid-refurbishment but doesn’t offer a glimpse of the updated seats.

Metro’s cloth seats gross out some riders, because fabric can be less sanitary than other seat covering options like plastic and vinyl.

In an October 2016 AMA on Reddit, Metro’s CEO Phil Washington shot down the idea that the fabric seating was dirty, saying that seats were steam-cleaned daily. He also claimed that the fabric seating was more comfortable—something which Metro riders will be able to gauge for themselves once these renovated cars start rolling out.