Let’s kick this one around in our collective minds: Standing room only subway cars.
What if we made every other car in a train standing room only? We could get rid of all the seats in the train car, and perhaps add a few more grab rails and holding points.
Think of all the extra people you could fit on the train! The elderly, handicapped, pregnant, fat, or just plain tired/lazy could go into the cars with seats. Everyone else could find more breathing room on the seatless cars.
Ok, how would you know which is which from the platform? Maybe the markings on the outside of the trains could be a certain color. And always make the first car a seated or seatless car (just pick on and make it standard).
My other idea would be to make the seats all “flipable.” Have you ever noticed the flip-up seats on the ends of trains like the 2 train or 4, 5, 6 train? It’s usually just on the end of the train. There’s a double wide seat that automatically flips upright to allow space for a wheelchair.
What’s nice is the fact that many people don’t bother to flip it down during rush hour. What if all the individual seats on the train automatically flipped upright? That would free some space.
Just drives me nuts when I see 350 pound people sitting, taking up 3 seats wide, and the standing room for 6 people.