Remodeled Subway Cars Bring Fewer Seats on the 'E' Line
If you're riding the 'E', you may struggle to find a seat.
As part of MTA Chairman Joe Lhota's Subway Action Plan, these R-160 subway cars are testing a new "standing room only" area at each end.
The cars have had the smaller seats at ends of the car removed, creating a large standing / leaning area that is intended to increase capacity and make it easier for passengers to enter and exit. There are even helpful yellow arrows on the floor, apparently to encourage you to use the empty area. The stanchions (upright metal poles) have also been improved to "enhance customer comfort and safety", but it's unclear what that entails, as they look pretty similar in the photos provided.
Overall, you may not notice the biggest difference: Under the hood, "master controllers" have been replaced, which control braking and acceleration and were identified as causing a large number of failures on this type of subway car.
During the pilot program, 100 of the MTA's 6,418 subway cars will be modified, and are currently only running on the 'E' Line, although the Subway Action Plan identifies the 'L' Line and Times Square Shuttle as the lines where they plan to test subway cars with fewer seats.
Here's a video that shows the new cars in service, where you can see how people are adapting to the open area: