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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA to test new passenger-car configuration

Last week, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) board’s planning and development committee recommended implementing a pilot program designed to increase Metrorail car capacity, improve passenger flow and reduce station dwell time.

Under the pilot, WMATA would remove cars’ seats and provide more standing room, and encourage passengers to step into a car's center and away from doors.

Scheduled to begin in June, the pilot’s first phase includes installing cameras onboard passenger cars to record data and observe passengers for three months.

The second phase would include removing between eight and 48 seats, installing a longitudinal seating area and reconfiguring handrails to reduce crowding at the doors.

If phase two is approved by the board, WMATA would place 16 reconfigured cars into service late this year or in early 2006.

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More News from 3/7/2005