Those old bench-style seats on Metra railcars that Chicago commuters have come to know and love will soon be a thing of the past. The rail service announced on Tuesday that it will roll out a new line of seats with armrests, cup holders and better head and neck support.
The new vinyl seats have a blue and gray color scheme and look pretty sleek compared to their predecessors. They're also stationary, which means you'll no longer be able to flip them over to accommodate a group of three or four—but an increase in comfort and a cup holder for your train beer ought to go a long way in making up for that.
The upgraded chairs won't cost the cash-strapped agency anything extra either, as they're being installed in cars where new seats are needed anyway. Metra will upgrade seating on two cars per month through the end of the year on all of its lines except Metra Electric, which should make finding a car with them a real treat. There are no plans to roll out new seats to the entire system quite yet, as feedback from commuters is wanted.
If the new seats do catch on, it'd give Metra better options than comparable commuter train lines like San Francisco's BART or New York's Metro North. Regardless, they'll probably increase the rate at which commuters fall asleep and miss their stops.