Idea: Standing Room only Subway Cars

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.

10 thoughts on “Idea: Standing Room only Subway Cars

  1. I don’t think the flip-seats would work because fat people would still sit in those and take up the room. I’m all for eliminating some seats though. Either that, or making them shallower so that only skinny people can sit on them comfortably.

    Morbidly obese people ruin my mornings.


  2. I think simply putting shallow arms on the seats would do. Think of the wooden benches on the platforms, but in the form factor of the plastic and metal seats in the cars. I’ve seen some obese people try and then refrain from sitting on the wooden benches because they just can’t fit their bottoms between the arms of each seat. If the subways cars also had arms between each seat, you’d fit one person per seat, plus the guys who insist on spreading their legs way out would have that process hampered at least a little when their thighs hit the arms. One more bonus would be that when the trains come to abrupt stops or the driver is a little heavy on the brakes, everyone in a seat has an arm next to them to grab and keep themselves from sliding into all the people next to them.

    The all-seats/all-standing car idea might work if the all-seats cars had them arranged not like they are now, but more like they are on the buses, three across, aisle, three across.

    Ooo! How about an all-seats car, where all the seats are like those bus-shelter kind that are flat platforms which rotate on a sort of horizontal pipe? I wouldn’t mind seeing that kind on a subway car. The homeless definitely wouldn’t be able to sleep on them, not even sitting up.


  3. i don’t think the flipper seats will work. there’s always going to be somebody who will insist on sitting on a crowded standing train. not only that, they make a heck of a loud noise when they smack back up. can you imagine what that sound would be like for a longer bench?

    i like the idea of having the shallow arms that way a single seat is clearly defined. i hate being sat on by some morbidly obese person on the subway.


  4. I’ve actually thought of the flipup seat idea before so I’m glad to see someone else who has too. The way to make filup seats work is to have them be lockable. They would popup and lock for the duration of rush hour, so more people could fit in the train. Then at the end of rush hour, they would automatically unlock and be usable again. Simple. It would increase rush hour capacity so much.


  5. I can’t help but laugh at some of these suggestions. Considering that by official standards most of the country is obese, especially in NYC, do you expect any of these ideas to make a difference.

    I usually here this rhetoric from those who are upset at the lack of space because a bigger person boarded earlier & prevents you from getting a seat. Well it is NYC, either get used to it or drive.

    Subway cars with defined seating are pretty useless as the shapes do not conform to the majority of riders including skinny or in shape individuals. Flat seating like that on the R142’s, R143’s, etc…. are more suitable & if someone big is sitting down, oh well.

    I mean if something like obese people ruin you, I think there are bigger problems for one to worry about.


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