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METRO is slashing more than a dozen seats per carriage from its oldest fleet of trains — a project that will leave almost half its passengers standing on an average peak service.
Metro spokeswoman Larisa Tait said about 15 seats for each carriage were being taken out of all Comeng models and being replaced with handrails.
This would leave about 444 seats in each six-car train — enough for just over half of a train’s average 800-passenger capacity, Ms Tait said.
The older-generation trains make up more than a third of Metro’s entire fleet and are used across all lines.
Ms Tait said the seat removal would increase each train’s overall capacity by 10 per cent.
Metro hopes the huge undertaking will combat the growing issue of overcrowding and improve punctuality.
The Public Transport Users Association told Channel 9 it backed the move.
The seats will be removed from the doorway area of each carriage, with priority seats for pregnant, elderly and disabled passengers to be moved.
“We know that generally customers tend to stand in the doorway area when they travel,” Ms Tait said.
“So it really made a lot of sense for us to make a lot more space available in that area.
“It will make for a more comfortable ride on busier services. It will also make it easier to board, and take less time to get on and off trains.”
Metro began removing seats from Comeng carriages earlier this year and expects all trains to be done by January next year.
Ms Tait said “a huge amount” of research and design had gone into the project.
Metro carried out a similar project on its newer X’Traplis fleet in 2012, and also planned to remove seats from its Siemens trains soon, she said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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