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Chicago CTA Expands Hard Back Seat Pilot, Seeking to Avoid Wet Surprises

Chicago trains and buses have long had dark cloth coverings, which can hide liquids and make for unpleasant experiences for riders.
October 14, 2017, 7am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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After getting positive feedback on a small pilot, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is adding more hardbacked seats to all Blue Line trains. The traditional cloth seats, "…while adding nominal comfort, have the unfortunate ability to mask the presence of spilled coffee, not to mention urine or other bodily fluids," John Greenfield writes for The Reader.

Many cities already have hard seats or moved to them after gaining insights into problems with the cloth design. "New York City's subway system has smooth plastic benches or seats, which don't absorb spills and make it much easier to notice fluids. And the Bay Area Rapid Transit train system began phasing out cloth seats after an analysis found disturbing levels of fecal and skin-borne bacteria." Greenfield reports. While some riders Greenfield spoke to worried that the plastic seats will be less comfortable, most agree that they'd rather give up some comfort than face the possibility of an unpleasant surprise. 

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Published on Monday, October 9, 2017 in Reader
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