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On Friday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced its proposed new seating configuration for the next generation of rail cars that it plans to purchase and introduce starting in 2016.The new seating design is a "hybrid of the best features" of the agency's existing car styles and incorporates forward- and aisle-facing seats, CTA officials said in a press release.The agency conducted empirical research and customer surveys to develop its recommendations, they said.The proposed configuration for the 7000 series cars will be provided to manufacturers bidding on the car project, which could involve up to 846 cars and cost nearly $2 billion. The series would replace CTA's oldest cars, reducing the average age of the fleet to around 10 years by 2022. The CTA issued an invitation for bids in February and expects to choose a manufacturer by January 2014.The new design would incorporate as many as 38 seats compared with 38 to 46 seats on other cars. About 53 percent of the seats would be forward-facing and 47 percent aisle facing to create a more even-mix configuration, and promote efficiency in boarding and exiting the train, CTA officials said.
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