A lot of people are passionate about the no eating/drinking in Metro policy, and now that Metro is yet again* considering opening up food kiosks in and around certain Metro stations--something we applaud, in theory--we think there's naturally going to be an increase in eating and drinking on the trains. If Metro thinks otherwise, they're fooling themselves.
So if the kiosks happen, Metro should get ready for more messes, and the first step should be to GET RID OF THE CARPETING!
According to Metro, on average, the carpet inside a Metrorail car is vacuumed once a week, shampooed every two months and replaced every five years, Metro says. It costs Metro $5,200 to replace carpet in each Metrorail car.
And they STILL look and smell like crap.
To their credit, Metro is starting to field cars without three kinds of "hard" test flooring. Here are some before and after pics.
Since testing of various floorings began in Nov. 2007, Metro has fielded five, count 'em a whopping FIVE, cars with new floors. Why can't Metro ask other transit systems what floorings work for them and go with that? Wouldn't that save time, money and get those carpets outta there?
We think it's time to make a decision and get moving on this, especially if Metro is going to bring food closer to the trains. Nobody likes the carpets anyway, especially on rainy days. The new floorings would certainly be easier to clean, probably with a simple sweeping/hosing down.
You have to wonder who in their right mind ever thought it was a good idea to carpet a mass transit system in the first place, so we asked Metro.
Apparently, it was to make the cars as plush and attractive as possible to help lure people out of their cars and into public transportation, according to a Metro spokesman. Designers were trying to overcome the negative image that existing subway systems such as New York and Philadelphia already had at the time, they continued. This is one of the same reasons escalators were used rather than just steps, they added.
We know how well that is working out!
Metro couldn't estimate the price to refloor a car with the new materials as no contracts have been awarded. Get 'er done, Metro!
*Frankly, the whole resurfacing of the retail in Metro idea was surprising, as it seemed DOA last time we heard about it.