'Subway car of the future' has more doors and fewer seats

In the coming years, the MTA plans to phase out the R46 subway cars built in the 1970s likely for something resembling the brand-new R211 cars.

"We're very excited about the 211. It is really the car of the future," said MTA senior vice president of subways Sally Librera, who, along with her team, designed the new cars to maximize capacity.

"There's changes to seat configuration because what we've done is added more doors into the cars," she said.

Those doors and the ability to move more freely between some cars encourage people to spread out.

"So people didn't feel they needed to stand on one particular side to get in or out of the car," Librera said.

The MTA painted the new hand-poles and handrails yellow to encourage people to use them and hopes the new cars allow riders to board and exit faster than the current ones.

"Wider doors, niches next to doors so people have a place to stand not in the doors and really help us move service along," Librera said.

But those open-gangways between cars appear to be the most drastic change.

"It enables customers to regulate the capacity," Librera said.

The MTA expects to test 20 of the open-gangway cars at some point this year. After completing that testing, the MTA plans to order 1,600 new cars for the A, F, R and C lines and the Staten Island Railway.

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The R211 subway car in production. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

The R211 subway car in production. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

The R211 subway car in production. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

The R211 subway car in production. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

The R211 subway car in production. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)