Removing seats from subways could lead to this scary problem

Joe Lhota wants to remove the seats from some subway trains to ease crowding — but he may want to rethink that plan after what happened when Boston tried the same thing.

The Massachusetts city’s seatless train cars soon became known as “Gropemobiles” after they were implemented in 2008 — and even the town’s mayor compared them to “cattle cars.”

The backlash by annoyed riders led the experiment in standing-room-only to be brought to a quick end.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority rolled out the “Big Red” program on the city’s T train nearly in response to a 5.5% increase in ridership, according to The Boston Herald.

It included taking all but two seats off of two trains on the T’s “Red Line” — their most busy train corridor — during a rush-hour pilot program.

The plan was smacked down by then Boston Mayor Thomas Menino who called the stripped trains “cattle cars” and said the plan wasn’t “well thought out,” the Boston Herald reported.

The effort to pack commuters in like sardines also earned “Big Red” the nickname of “The Gropemobile” because of how much easier it is to be sexually assaulted in a tightly packed train car, according to the outlet.

The plan was such a bust that just two years later, the MBTA started rolling back the plan, adding 24 seats back to the Big Reds.

“Customer feedback was mixed after the initial launch of the cars, with more comments unfavorable than favorable,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo told The Post by email Wednesday afternoon.

He said the MBTA plans to get rid of the Big Red cars all together by 2023 when the agency will roll out 218 brand new train cars for the Red Line.

Lhota, the new Chairman of the MTA said his plan to remove seats in rush-hour “L” and “S” trains was inspired by similar programs in Boston and San Francisco.

He said it won’t fix the whole subway but he wants to do whatever he can to get it “running faster.”

“Is the removal of seats the panacea that will save everything? Absolutely not. There were 30 points put forth yesterday [in the action plan]. Any one is not going to fix the system,” Lhota told reporters.

“It’s an experiment… if we find it’s not successful, we won’t do [it].”

Big Apple commuters weren’t happy to hear their seats may be taken away and believe it could be dangerous for vulnerable commuters.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. We have a large amount of seniors and people with disabilities during rush hours,” Charles Lowery, 29, said.

“I think it’s safer and more convenient to have seats… I always hear about stories with people getting peed on, so I wouldn’t be surprised if people took advantage.”

Gilbert Pena, 24, said the answer is simple.

“No seats? I think they should just fix the service. Get better cars.”

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/07/26/removing-seats-from-subways-could-lead-to-this-scary-problem/

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