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MBTA Unveils New Green Line Cars in September

More standing room, comfier seats, improved doors among new features

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The oldest subway in America is getting some shiny new cars.

The MBTA is set to roll out the first of 24 new cars on the Green Line in September as part of its broader Green Line expansion project. The cars, designed over four years by the Spanish construction company CAF, are a little roomier—not more seats, just more standing room—and they have some modern touches that just might make your ride a little more pleasant.

So what’s new for a system that first opened on September 1, 1897 (and cost just a nickel)? Plenty:

  • The new cars will have the same number of seats (44), but additional standing room so they can handle about 10 percent more passengers. That may not sound like much, but it will mean that during rush hour, more people can board crowded trains rather than wait for the next one.
The empty inside of a new MBTA Green Line car showing seats and extra space

The new cars will have the same number of seats—44—as the existing ones, but the redesign gives standing passengers about 10 percent more room.

  • Doors will slide open, not push out as they do now, making the Green Line feel a little more like a traditional subway—like the Red, Orange, and Blue Lines. This should make it easier for passengers to get off and on.
The open sliding doors of a new MBTA Green Line car.

The doors on the new cars will slide open to the side rather than push open to the outside, making it easier for passengers getting on and off.

  • Thanks to a lower ride, stepping on and off should be easier. A blue button near the side of doors can be easily pushed to activate an orange ramp for wheelchairs and strollers.
  • Inside, the rails you grab if you’re standing will be bright yellow, not chrome.
Bright yellow bars and an emergency button inside a new MBTA green line car.

Inside the cars, the grab bars will be bright yellow instead of chrome, and there will be easy-to-find buttons to activate a ramp for wheelchairs and strollers.

  • Green Line cars will have the first video screens on T vehicles; one will display the next station, the other advertisements.
  • The seat covers will no longer be plastic, but a textured material. That means you’re less likely to slide on the sharp stops and turns.
  • To make moving through the trains easier, the new cars’ midsections will be wider so people can get on and off faster.
  • An improved speaker system will allow passengers to hear messages more clearly.
  • On the outside, the accent color will be silver, not white. But the primary color will still be green—it is the Green Line, after all.
10 Comments

10 Comments on MBTA Unveils New Green Line Cars in September

  • Anonymius on 07.23.2018 at 8:38 am

    Welcome to the 21st Century, MBTA.

  • sharon zitser on 07.23.2018 at 9:24 am

    You complain you do not have enough money for the T. I you put devices next to each door when people come in they can swipe there card and that is a way of getting the money that is owed to the T.

  • Student on 07.23.2018 at 9:37 am

    How do these ‘shiny new’ cars still look so painfully out of date with the ones that are decades older is so many other cities? We shouldn’t be just barely getting by with our T system, we should be improving our infrastructure with excitement.

    • Smarter Child on 07.23.2018 at 11:07 am

      Student,

      I am just curious what part of these new cars appear to be out of date? We should consider that the builders must work within the constraints of the existing track and tunnel system.

      • tedB on 07.24.2018 at 3:11 pm

        I think I see what he’s saying. some other transit systems have vehicles that are smoother (more rounded), have fewer lines and distractive add-ons (stickers, buttons, frames, etc)…giving them a more polished, modern look.

      • Student on 07.25.2018 at 10:35 am

        It’s more of just a general complaint of the complete inadequacy of the Green line system. I just find it funny there’s all these articles writing about great improvements coming to this line, but when you see that the actual improvements are simply a slightly more up to date trolley. But I guess what do you expect from a transportation system that is billions of dollars in debt, with almost a quarter of revenue going to pay old debt and interest from old debt that was refinanced with absolute disregard for the future, with a state government that refuses to help alleviate this major problem.

  • LarryO on 07.23.2018 at 10:52 am

    I hope the new ‘sliding doors’ are designed better than the ones on the old Boeing LRVs from the 1980s-90s. Over 300 moving parts per door and continuously breaking. MBTA mechanics eventually replaced them all with the accordion doors like those in use on today’s trolleys.

  • Avery on 07.23.2018 at 11:11 am

    Any changes to the buttons that you press to signal you want to get off at the next stop? It’s currently incredibly difficult to do when you are stuck in a crowded train.

  • A Not-So-Tall T User on 07.23.2018 at 11:28 am

    The problem isn’t the space – it’s the place to hold onto. I don’t see additional bars/handrails in the picture of the new car, but hopefully, there are some improvements in this regard. In Green Lines during rush hours, you observe pockets of space inside the car where no bars or handles are available. This is the case even when the areas around the doors are packed like sardine cans – and passengers on the platform are forced to pass up on five trains in a row. The overhead bars are too far to reach for some people, and there are simply not enough places for everyone on the train to hang onto. Not many people are willing (or strong enough) to balance themselves in the crowded shaky train.

    In addition, the lack of kindness can spoil all the space or handrails in the world. In many cases, if you move your bag below waistline, where human body is narrower, or to the front of your body, where no one really wants to stand anyway, you make more room for others. If you stand just one inch away from the bar instead of leaning on it, you make room for 3 more hands on the bar. And if you turn your body just 60 degrees or move a half-step inside, your shorter neighbor might be able to reach the vertical bar instead of the overhead bar. Not to say I don’t witness kindness on the T (I’ve encountered many heartwarming scenes on rush-hour trains), but a little bit more of consideration by EVERYONE goes a long way. People left out on the platform may be running to pick up their children, to their beds after their night shifts/exams, or freezing in the snow for 20 minutes…

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