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MTA rolls out new E trains with fewer seats

The refurbished and reconfigured cars have some seats removed for added capacity and are part of Chairman Joe Lhota’s Subway Action Plan.

Don’t be surprised if you see a different E train this week — one with fewer seats and more passengers.

The MTA rolled out a 100-car pilot of reconfigured and refurbished R-160 cars on the E line that have end seats taken out for an added capacity between 80 to 100 straphangers. The seat removal will also decrease the time they get on and off the train.

Additionally, the car’s master controllers, which brake and accelerate, have been replaced as issues with them was one of the primary causes of failures on the R-160s.

The rollout is part of MTA Chairman Joe Lhota’s Subway Action Plan, which he unveiled in July and vowed that the program would show New Yorkers subway improvements within one year.


“We do not have time to waste when it comes to improving the customer experience and service for our riders,” he said in a statement. “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. 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 a select number of seats.”

The new-ish E trains also feature new bars and handrails, LCD display screens, LED lighting and interior and exterior wraps so riders know they’re getting on a pilot train. There are also exterior indications that let them know there will be fewer seats inside.

The MTA also plans to try out seat removals on the S shuttle in Times Square and the L train. Train lines, such as the C, that have longer platforms that can accommodate them will see additional cars for more capacity.

Other facets of the Subway Action Plan include repairing 1,300 problematic signals, cleaning 40,000 street grates to divert water and eliminate clogged drains, expanding from 950 to 1,000 subway cars, increasing station cleaning by 30 percent and more.

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