It’s the end of an era at Metro Transit, where for 16 years light-rail passengers have faced the potential of a soggy-bottomed winter commute.
By spring, Metro Transit will replace the 6,000 cloth seats on all of its 91 light-rail train cars with plastic seats.
The plastic seats, which have been tested out on a limited number of light-rail trains, have proven easier to clean and maintain, a special boon during the pandemic.
“Our customers have been asking us to do this for a while, so we’re excited to take this step and improve their riding experience,” Ryan McTeague, director of light-rail vehicle maintenance, said in a Metro Transit statement.
On average, staff have refurbished nearly 3,900 of the original cloth seats a year, accounting for more than 1,600 work hours.
The Metropolitan Council approved a $1.8 million contract for the design and manufacture of plastic seats in early 2020, estimating that reduced maintenance could lead to more than $200,000 in annual savings.
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