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Photograph: Courtesy New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Flickr

See inside the new open gangway subway cars that are coming to NYC

Shaye Weaver

In 2021, the way you survive your subway commute will change.

The MTA this week gave a peek into the future with photos of the new R211 subway cars that they'll begin testing later this year and bring online by 2021.

The new design, which has been implemented in other cities like London and Tokyo, has eliminated doors between cars. Instead, cars will be held together by accordion-like connectors, allowing for riders to move freely between them like a long, moving hallway.

No longer will you be able to hop between cars to escape Showtime, a swampy smell and or an aggressive character. And when there's the unavoidable subway surfing rat, how will the new cars handle a stampede of frightened riders? Will peering down the lengthy gangway instill existential dread or ease our claustrophobia? We want to know. 

Other changes include flippable seats that can be moved to make room for passengers and handicapped straphangers and there will be wider doors (from 50 to 58 inches) to accommodate the flow as to reduce wait times in stations.

Kawasaki, the company producing the R211 cars, has also designed them to have colorful digital information displays and advertisements, illuminated door opening alerts and security cameras. 

Photograph: Courtesy MTA/Flickr

"We are very excited about these latest developments in our R211 car production because these new cars represent the future of the New York subway and will be the new standard for all new NYC Transit subway cars going forward," said Frank Jezycki, NYC Transit’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Subways. "We are in constant communications with Kawasaki throughout the production process, which is on schedule and on budget so that our customers will be able to benefit very soon from the latest car technology available."

Kawasaki will deliver 30 pilot R211 cars, including 20 with the open-gangway design, to NYC Transit for testing later this year. If all goes to plan, they'll be implemented on the subway system's lettered routes and the Staten Island Railway in 2021.

Until then, we'll thank the subway gods for the ability to compartmentalize the smells.


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