Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is making some changes that many transportation system users may appreciate.
DART will replace 34,000 fabric seat cushions and backs with new vinyl ones across its bus fleet. In addition, 15,000 new vinyl seats will be installed on 163 DART Light Rail vehicles, according to a DART news release.
“The long-term goal of this is to make sure we have a very clean system for all of our riders,” said DART spokesman Gordon Shattles, per Community Impact. “A lot of folks were worried after COVID, [but] we want to make sure that our riders have a safe, … clean and effective ride.”
The new seats will be easier to clean than the previous fabric ones. Instead of soiled cloth seats being replaced each evening, as was previously the routine, the new vinyl seats will be wiped clean throughout the day to maintain a hygienic environment.
Shattles emphasized the importance of a clean and pleasant ride for passengers, highlighting the negative experiences caused by spills and stains on fabric seats.
“I know as a passenger, when you come inside [a bus] where someone spilled their coffee but it’s blended in so you sit down in a pile of coffee — that’s the last thing you want to start your day with,” Shattles told Community Impact.
The vinyl seats will help avoid such situations, ensuring a more enjoyable journey for commuters.
The seat replacement process began in May and is expected to be completed by November.
The transition takes approximately 30-45 minutes per bus, and DART hopes to complete the upgrade smoothly to minimize passenger disruptions.
DART has also added onboard cleaning personnel to remove trash and debris from light rail vehicles throughout the day.
Nightly cleaning procedures will be maintained for buses.
The cost of these upgrades is not immediately clear. The Dallas Express reached out to DART for additional information but did not receive a response by the publication deadline.