Did You Know?

Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

How do you like the new train seats?

There’s been lots of talk about the seating layout of the new CTA 5000 series rail cars that we’re seeing on the Green Line and Pink Line trains. From what we’ve heard it seems like the new aisle-facing configuration is here to stay, but that has brought up a new source of debate about the seats themselves: bucket or bench?

Chicago Tribune reporter Jon Hilkevitch has made it clear he’s not a fan of the current bucket style seats and asks CTA to listen to riders on the issue. So Riders for Better Transit is asking you!

There are advantages and disadvantages to both seating styles, as we’ve heard from riders.

Those in favor of a bench seat say that parceling out space for people makes for an uncomfortable ride. Not all riders fit in the allotted 17.5” seat and when some spill over onto the next seat, it makes for a tight squeeze for their neighbor.

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Bench style MTA R142 (New York); photo courtesy of LTK Engineeering Services.                        
CTA 5000 rail car (Chicago); photo courtesy of CTA Tattler. 

Riders who prefer the bucket style seating featured in the new CTA cars argue that without the seat markings, there’s nothing to stop people from taking up even more space than they need, putting bags, jackets and other items next to them. 

Both the bench and the bucket style seats allow for more standing room, allowing more people to fit on crowded trains.

Take our poll below or click here and tell us what you think! We’ll share the results with CTA. We’ll also enter your name in a raffle for a chance to win a free copy of the book, Carless in Chicago. Take the survey before Oct. 14. 

Here’s how staffers in the Active Trans office answered:

  • 50 percent voted for bench seating

  • 44 percent voted for bucket seating

  • 6 percent no preference 

This survey is now closed.