DART gets heavily into vinyl with new seating on Dallas trains & buses
In the debate over cloth versus vinyl, vinyl wins: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is replacing the fabric seats on its buses and trains with new seats made of vinyl.
They begin the second phase of a program on January 22, piloting one light rail vehicle and one Dallas Streetcar vehicle. This follows a first round in 2023, when they replaced nearly 34,000 fabric seat cushions and backs on their fleet of buses with vinyl-covered seats.
Now come the trains: Starting in March 2024, more than 16,000 light rail vehicle seats in 163 vehicles will be replaced throughout the DART fleet.
Farewell pretty blue-and-black patterned fabric seats, hello blue vinyl.
The goal is to provide a cleaner and more comfortable environment, and is part of a bigger trend among bus and rail manufacturers away from fabric, making vinyl the go-to for new vehicles. It's a hot trend.
A spokesperson says that the new vinyl seating is easier to keep clean. And if someone spills a drink on the seat, riders can easily see that it’s wet, versus fabric where it is apparently more difficult to see.
The last run of 42 new buses were all delivered with vinyl seating.
“We are very excited to begin the second phase of our vinyl seat replacement program for our light rail vehicles,” says DART senior EVP and COO Bernard Jackson in a statement. “I know from speaking with many of our bus riders that they appreciate the new seating, and we look forward to providing additional upgrades in the future that focus on rider comfort.”
DART has also deployed a DART Clean Team Initiative that utilizes on-board contract cleaning personnel to remove trash and debris aboard light rail vehicles as they operate throughout the DART network, supplementing cleaning protocols already in place.