Metro is getting a wave of new cars for the Red and Purple subway lines and, if the latest design is to be believed, they might look a lot different than the cars in operation now.
A new post from Metro’s blog, The Source shows that the “mock-up” cars—a smaller-scale version of the final design that are used to see how the elements of the cars fit together—show that LA’s new subway cars could have bench seating along at least one wall of each car.
Bench-style seating, long a standard in other major metros like New York City, would allow free up more space for strollers, bikes, and people to stand. Generally, this configuration results in a loss of roughly eight to 10 seats but a gain of standing room for 20 to 30 additional riders, says Metro spokesperson Brian Haas.
More passenger capacity “is what we expect will be needed in the future,” Haas says. Bench seating also makes it easier to clean subway cars, he says, and that’s likely to please riders who complain about spills, bugs, and trash.
The mock-up cars also included a number of other features being considered for the 64 subway cars that are slated for LA: a light-up map of the line, USB ports, and bike areas with straps to secure your ride.
It’s not clear how much of this proposed design will ultimately appear in the version of the cars that go into service.
Haas tells Curbed that the agency “expects” the new subway cars to have seating along the perimeter and more open space for standing, but also emphasizes that these designs still aren’t final. The latest design has changed from two years ago when Metro’s purchase of the cars went through—previous versions had no bench seating and looked a lot like the cars we have now.
The cars’ exteriors are under construction in China now. Final assembly will happen in Massachusetts. Metro will test the new cars after they’re delivered in December 2020.
The Red and Purple lines aren’t the only lines to get new cars. The Blue Line received a host of new cars in 2017, with the goal of replacing the oldest cars on the line by the end of 2018. (Some of the cars on the Blue Line were original to the line, which opened in 1990.)