DART to replace cloth seats on buses, light rail with vinyl
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DALLAS — Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) aims to replace fabric upholstery on most of its 570 buses by May 29, the transit agency announced Tuesday.
The seat backs and cushions will soon feature vinyl coverings meant to make the buses cleaner -- and, perhaps more important, easier to clean.
Workers have already begun swapping cloth seat backs and cushions with cleaner, DART said Tuesday.
Across DART's 570-bus fleet, crews will replace nearly 34,000 cushions.
Vinyl coverings are typically more durable than fabric coverings, the transit agency said in a press release announcing the cushion swaps.
"Cloth seats just are not very sanitary," DART quoted a frequent bus rider named Daniela Rodriguez in that release. "You never know what you are sitting on. I think this is a good step for DART to take."
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Next, DART will begin swapping out upholstery on its 163 light rail vehicles. Those 15,000 cushions will begin to be replaced in May, the agency said. DART hopes all seat backs and cushions across its fleet will be replaced by September.
The agency also announced its intention to purchase an additional 1,500 spare seats coverings to make replacing future damaged seats a more efficient process.
On social media, DART riders on the whole seem appreciative of the changes.
Wrote Brenda Valdez: "Finally! Those other seat cushions had been through it all..."
Added Villa Steph: "Awesome! I'm glad DAYRT reviewed our surveys and is changing the seats. Yhank you!"
Said John Burns: "OMG, this has been a true gift from the lord above!"
The new seat covers fall in line with a larger DART Clean Team initiative launched in November 2022. That effort involves crews removing trash and debris from light rail vehicles over the course of the day, beyond the standard nightly DART cleaning protocols.
"DART is committed to maintaining its system in a state of good repair," DART assistant vice president of fleet engineering Marvin Hurt said in the agency's press release. "Vinyl seats have a material life cycle of 10+ years, and more importantly, provide a cleaner, safer, and more comfortable environment for our riders."
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