NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The MTA has unveiled the first of its refurbished and reconfigured subway cars that are now in service on E trains.

Each car will have fewer seats, which the MTA says is expected to increase capacity by as much as 100 passengers per train. The MTA hopes it will reduce the time it takes riders to get on and off the trains.

“This pilot goes directly to the heart of that goal by attacking a significant cause of failures on these cars and making a fast, targeted improvement,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a statement. “We also know that getting more passengers onto trains, in a more efficient manner, is absolutely essential – which is why we’re piloting the removal of select number of seats.”

The pilot program includes 10 cars on the E line, as well as two on the L line, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported. Depending on the car, four to eight seats are removed.

Riders at Queens Plaza had mixed reactions Wednesday.

“I appreciate the attempt, but I still don’t think it’s gonna alleviate the major problems that E train riders experience,” one passenger told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

“It’s wall-to-wall with people so I guess whatever gives us more room, it will work better,” said another.

Jackson Heights resident Linda Oalican told Carlin, “it’s really bad.” She said she often spends 30 minutes to an hour on a train each way during her daily commute.

“The number of older people is increasing, so why would they remove the seats?” she wondered.

“There’s fewer seats for people who really need them,” another woman said.

“I’m kind of picturing people just like — on a really crowded day — wedged in this area,” a man added. “So I don’t know.”

People did seem to like the new handrails, though.

“That should be on all the poles. That seems like a good idea with more people standing,” one woman said.

MTA Chief Operating Officer Phillip Eng said people still have the ability to sit in the cars.

“In no cases are we removing all the seats,” he told Carlin.


As part of the Subway Action Plan announced this summer, there will also be mechanical fixes, new digital information screens and outward-pointing arrows on the floor to remind riders to stay clear of the closing doors.