Friday, May 8, 2009

Kiosks: Yay! Carpets: Boo!

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.

Photo: daquellamanera

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Anonymous said...

I must be the only person who likes the carpets. I find that the person standing next to me is usually the cause of the smell, not the carpets. The cars without carpet are slippery when it rains. That's my main reason for disliking the tiled cars.

I also like the no food or drink rule. What is metro thinking saying we have a strict no food or drink rule, but we'd like to tease you by selling food stuffs? Stupid.

Hostage Hoosier said...

"to make the cars as plush and attractive as possible" bahahaha.

Also, there are tons of types of flooring that are non-slip. I have worked in plenty of restaurants that utilize them. I am sure they are testing some type of the same thing.

Anonymous said...

No, Anonymous @ 1:57, you are not the only one - I agree with you on both points.

The carpets were great when I first moved to DC (early 1990s), and they really made Metro seem classier than other subway systems. As passenger volumes have risen dramatically in the past 10 years or so, the carpets aren't looking as good as they used to. But I'm still not convinced that getting rid of them is the solution - the "test" flooring I have seen isn't very appealing either.

The no food/drink rule is sensible and sound, and helps keep the system clean. They should enforce it more vigorously, not undermine it by selling food within the system. Unless the kiosks are selling sealed-up groceries, clearly intended to be eaten at home, selling food would send the wrong message and basically dare people to violate the eating/drinking rule.

Kim said...

There's a really good post that discusses floors on the BART over on Fake Plastic Fish...

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