Riders of San Francisco’s BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) can tell by the carpeting, plush upholstery, and decades-old ketchup stains that the same cars have been running down the tracks since 1973. The fleet is in dire need of a makeover, and BART has found just the designers to take on the challenge. DesignworksUSA, a design arm of BMW, recently signed a $500,000 contract to upgrade BART’s outdated aesthetics.
Potential changes include easy-to-clean plastic seats, wider aisles for faster boarding times, and bike corrals. BART is asking for public input on everything from seat style and handicap accommodations to the types of information included in on-board displays. Of the thousand surveys already received, riders have indicated their willingness to give up a couple inches of leg room and seat width to ensure a more pleasant transportation experience.
This isn’t DesignworksUSA‘s first foray into public transportation. The design group also recently signed a contract with Siemens to design the company’s Metro Inspiro subway cars, which will be used on Warsaw’s public transit system. If this next generation of BART cars turn out anything like the Metro Inspiro (pictured above), Bay Area citizens may be more likely to leave their cars at home. BMW’s “Fleet of the Future” will be introduced in 2017.